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Old 02-24-2014, 02:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guawazi View Post
I do think for many older Chinese immigrants the draw of the quiet, isolated suburbs is very strong because many of them grew up in large cities. For people who grew up in the suburbs (like me) their entire lives, things such as crowding, noise, and the grittiness of the city can be seen as appealing features. Definitely a few things that Chinese cities have plenty of. I think if you're older and trying to raise a family, then it makes sense that you'd want to avoid those things. As someone under 30 with no kids, the suburban setting is almost too quiet and sterile for my tastes.
True.
Because family life is pretty much routine and dull, so suburbs make more sense because the family life almost always circles around that house itself.

A young single person will be bored to death in the quiet suburbs. So will a childless couple who frequently needs to go out socialising.

I would still live in the city if I had one child. If I had more than two, sububan life starts to look appealing.

Noise? What noise? I live in the very centre of a city of 6M, and I seldom have noise problem. As long as you live in a unit not facing the street, noise shouldn't be a problem. Neighbours? Most of them are quiet (probably due to hardly anyone has small kids). And it is not like the suburbs are noise free. If you live in a semi, you still share one wall with a neighbour who might play the piano or have three crying kids.
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
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Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
The suburbs are nice and clean and stuff, until you realise there comes at a cost - commute time. I would say it become totally not worth it if you have to spend more than an hour one way commuting. Quality of life plummets as a result of associated wasted time and stress.

Urban living is not bad as you guys make it out to be. It is convenient, easy access to everything to need. I live in a downtown condo, and am 8 minutes walk from both office and the closest grocery store, which means I can get up at 8:30 and still arrive at office on time. By 5:30pm, I am comfortably sitting at home, making dinner, working out. Can suburbanites? I walk to grocery shops two or three times a week to buy fresh vegetable, fruits and bakery, can suburbanites? If I want to have dinner with friends or watch a movie, I just go and will be there under 10 minutes, can suburbanites?

The suburbs look clean and pretty but one thing other than commute that I can't endure - it is so boring and there is nothing nearby but other people's houses. And without a car, you can't really go anywhere.

Of course people decide their own lifestyle, but it is laughable to think suburban life is idyllic and urban life is just horrible - if that's case, housing prices should be much cheaper in Manhattan and San Francisco than White Plain and Walnet Creek, shouldn't they?
Everyone has different preferences, I am just stating what my wife and the others in the Chinese community she knows have stated when coming here and being presented the choices between suburban living or urban living. Commute times are a non issue, I mean at least here in Seattle the only real urban living is downtown. Downtown Seattle is just one of the many job centers in the area- so lots and lots of people are actually CLOSER to work living in their suburban neighborhood than they would be if they lived downtown Seattle. And regardless of where everyone lives or works, I don't know more than maybe 1 person who commutes a full hour to get to work- my drive is only 25 minutes, my wife's is only 10 minutes. With how decentralized job centers are, many of them are in office parks in the suburbs, so you see lots of suburb to suburb commuting. Or even for those who really like the urban lifestyle, downtown to suburb "reverse" commuting, as some of those who live down there work in big tech companies such as Microsoft, which is of course a fair distance away across the lake in the suburbs.

My wife and others she knows who had no real option but the high rise, urban living in China love the option of a pretty, quiet suburban setting with their own back yard for the kid to have a swing set and play, to have a garden, to have peace and quiet- they don't want to live in an urban setting like they had back home. If they want to go shopping more options than they could ever need are just a half mile down the road in our very large suburban shopping mall and all the other blocks and blocks of shopping that is around it. And if they want the urban amenities that can only be found in a place like downtown Seattle, they can just drive (or take a bus) for the 30 minute trip whenever they want.

So it's just a matter of preference, and their feelings on this are every bit as valid as those who feel the opposite.
The argument about urban being better as reflected by real estate prices, that doesn't really hold up- the reason those places are more expensive is low inventory- that urban setting such as downtown San Francisco is a very small footprint, a small number of properties in comparison to the seemingly endless sea of homes to be found in all of the surrounding suburbs. So it's all about the numbers- in my own city, downtown Seattle stretches maybe just a couple miles in any direction, whereas you have suburbs and single family homes stretching for 30 or more miles in at least 3 directions from downtown. That obviously makes for many, many, many more single family homes than you have downtown condos.
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Old 02-24-2014, 03:06 PM
 
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^ I agree with you.
But in terms of shopping, those "very large suburban shopping malls" which are exactly the same as the one 20 miles away don't really make life more interesting, and can hardly compare with all sort of unique independent shops that will not open in the suburbs.

Seattle is a midsize city, so commute shouldn't be too bad. That probably doesn't apply to New York or Los Angeles - not sure what percentage of those suburban residents enjoy 10-25 minutes commute. Major Chinese cities are more similar to them in terms of population and traffic, so the advantage one gets by moving to the suburbs is really from moving to a smaller city.

And you kid may be all happy and safe in your private yard, if he stays 5 years old forever. Will he enjoy that yard as much when he turns 10, 13, 15? He can't drive and apparently can't go anywhere without his parents driving him somewhere.

I am not saying suburban life is bad. I just refuting the argument that urban life is. The Chinese living in those horrible highrise condos get to eat fresh veges and meat bought on the same day in a nearby market , compared with veges bought 5 days ago and meat that has been in the freezer since god know when. Doesn't that affect quality of life?
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Old 02-25-2014, 04:00 AM
 
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As I said previously, the main draw of the US suburbs especially to Asian immigrants who have prospered are the schools. People forget that education is often the top priority of middle class families and especially so for Asians. Suburban schools that offer open enrollment are better on average than their city counterparts, but that is changing. Once you take out schools from the equation, the suburbs become far less appealing and that is why 2nd gen and later are now settling down in city downtowns in greater number than the suburbs. Statistically new housing starts in urban areas are growing at double digit rates while suburban areas are generally flat.
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Old 02-25-2014, 11:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
I actually have lived in both Shanghai and Toronto and know for a fact that putting these two together makes little sense.

Shanghai is about four times the size of Greater Toronto Area. It has 16 subway lines, Toronto has 2.5 lines. Shanghai is busy in many corners of the city with multiple super busy business/entertainment centres while Toronto outside the core and Yonge st is just a large suburb. In Shanghai stores close at 11pm on Sundays in Toronto it is 6pm. The liquor store closes at 5pm. In Shanghai nightlife extends well beyond 3 or 4am sometimes all night while in Toronto it stops at 2. Comparing with People Square, Dundas Square in Toronto looks tiny and cute - shanghai has at least 10 squares of these of similar sizes. Queen west is more like a secondary commercial street like Nanchang Road instead of being like Huaihuai Road if you have been to both.

It is simply not the same game. I don't know why people think Toronto is that a big deal - it is a vibrant city in North American context, but not when Shanghai is dragged into the game. Not sure you have spent enough time in Shanghai or Toronto in the past 3 years - it is more like Hong Kong and Tokyo. Toronto's vibe can't compare to that even in 10 years.

Shenzhen to Vancouver? Kidding? Vancouver is just a pretty tranquil big town in the eyes of most Chinese, hardly a midsized city.
You are acting silly, we are looking for equivalent cities not equal cities. If you expect them to be perfectly identical, then no cities will fit the bill. Yes Chinese cities are going to be bigger, that's evident when there are so many people living there. Also stores do not close at 11, if you go outside the bar district most places closes around 8 - 10. People want to get home you know.

Shanghai is not like Hong Kong or Tokyo. Hong Kong has a total different wibe, and Tokyo looks totally different. And I think it is silly to compare Asian cities with Asian cities.
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Old 02-25-2014, 01:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Camlon View Post

Shanghai is not like Hong Kong or Tokyo. Hong Kong has a total different wibe, and Tokyo looks totally different. And I think it is silly to compare Asian cities with Asian cities.
well, Shanghai is a lot more like HK and Tokyo than Toronto (90% of which is the quiet suburbs).
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Old 02-25-2014, 04:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
well, Shanghai is a lot more like HK and Tokyo than Toronto (90% of which is the quiet suburbs).
No it isn't. Shanghai is nothing like Hong Kong and Tokyo. And we are not comparing Asian cities, else why not compare Chinese cities with other Chinese cities.

And Toronto has a quite large city center compared to other cities in Canada and united states. Talking about Tokyo, the whole city is mostly just boring suburbs.
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Old 02-26-2014, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forest_Hills_Daddy View Post
As I said previously, the main draw of the US suburbs especially to Asian immigrants who have prospered are the schools. People forget that education is often the top priority of middle class families and especially so for Asians. Suburban schools that offer open enrollment are better on average than their city counterparts, but that is changing. Once you take out schools from the equation, the suburbs become far less appealing and that is why 2nd gen and later are now settling down in city downtowns in greater number than the suburbs. Statistically new housing starts in urban areas are growing at double digit rates while suburban areas are generally flat.
Yes, I forgot to mention that in my discussion as well- here in Seattle the schools in the city proper are poorly to mediocre rated, whereas some of the best schools in the entire state are in the suburbs. My Chinese wife is obsessed with those school ratings now that we've had our first child, and her family back home is also talking about that a lot as we are getting ready to move to a new home in a different suburb that's in a much better school district.
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Old 02-26-2014, 12:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jm31828 View Post
Yes, I forgot to mention that in my discussion as well- here in Seattle the schools in the city proper are poorly to mediocre rated, whereas some of the best schools in the entire state are in the suburbs. My Chinese wife is obsessed with those school ratings now that we've had our first child, and her family back home is also talking about that a lot as we are getting ready to move to a new home in a different suburb that's in a much better school district.
Isn't it true that good schools are in the suburbs because families want to live there instead of the cities? It is not the other way around.
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Old 02-26-2014, 12:34 PM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,250,780 times
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Originally Posted by Camlon View Post
No it isn't. Shanghai is nothing like Hong Kong and Tokyo. And we are not comparing Asian cities, else why not compare Chinese cities with other Chinese cities.

And Toronto has a quite large city center compared to other cities in Canada and united states. Talking about Tokyo, the whole city is mostly just boring suburbs.
No cities are completely alike, but one thing I am sure of is that Toronto has little in common with Shanghai.

Toronto has a small downtown (only big by north amerian standard), and vast majority of the city is low rise suburbs with their quiet streets and birds. Except for along the 2.5 subway lines, the city is predominantly low density, and there is not much going on outside part of downtown, and a few busy intersections (yonge/eglinton, North York Centre etc).

Shanghai doesn't have 2 storey single family houses. The city is all mid and high rises. It has has probably 6 or 7 really busy areas equivalent to downtown Troronto south of Dundas st (north of it there is not so much going on), with shops, restaurants, movie theatres, all the people waking around.

The Vancouver Shenzhen comparison makes even less sense. Shenzhen is one of China's largest cities and business centre, and Vancouver in comparison is just a serene town uneventful most of the time.
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