How to choose between urban and suburban living

The age-old question: urban or suburban living? People often approach this question with extreme comparisons. Quiet versus loud. Big versus small. Yard versus no yard. They treat each feature as if it’s one or the other, never both. Of course, there are generalities regarding both ways of living but they differ city-to-city, neighbourhood-to-neighbourhood, house-to-house. How many times have you heard the argument, “Well do you want space, or do you want location?”  People believe that it essentially boils down to one thing: deciding between a big house with lots of space, a yard and quiet neighbourhood, or having a life. Believe us, it does not have to be that cut and dry.

An urban life is often described as fun and exciting with events happening all around you, while urban living can also be labelled as loud, crowded and small. If you are only looking at downtown condos and high-rises, then yes places will be on the smaller side and you might hear some street noise during the day and at rush hour. However, these places are specifically built for 1-2 people who love the downtown atmosphere, work in a nearby building or perhaps don’t own a car. There are plenty of urban neighbourhoods with townhouses, more spacious apartments, condos and full-size homes that are within close proximity to downtown without the noise or cramped living quarters. Imagine a 2000+ square foot, four-bedroom house with a yard and double car garage within walking distance to a park. Yes, these do exist in urban areas! Families are not banished to the suburbs as people once believed.

A suburban life is typically described as relaxed and quiet with large property lots close to schools, parks and amenities, while it also can be labelled as boring and slow with little to do. The suburbs are stereotypically a place for families with children to move so that they are far away from traffic, pollution, crowds, basically anything associated with downtown living. However, people often don’t realize how close the suburbs really are here in Calgary. Say you want to go to the Glenbow Museum at the heart of downtown on a weekday. Leaving from even the farthest suburb in Calgary, this will take you less than 30 minutes. This city is set up with an amazing system of highways that keep traffic flowing smoothly, as much as they possibly can. So, if you’re worried about the location, don’t be. You’re still close.

Don’t decide urban or suburban right away. Consider your interests, your friends and your transportation needs first, then start looking at your options. There is no right or wrong answer, there is only your answer.