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Old 02-12-2011, 03:14 AM
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Two cities I'd consider if I move to the US in a few years time...I've got a friend who just moved to Portland, Oregon and he really likes it, but Boston will probably be my first choice if I can afford it. In my mind, the pros of Portland are it's more affordable, possibly more friendly people, access to the mountains and forests...while Boston is more historic, closer to NYC etc, close to picturesque New England. How do they compare in all other aspects, in terms of crime, employment (especially in the urban planning field), housing affordability, vibrancy of the neighbourhoods.
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Old 02-12-2011, 03:58 AM
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Some of this depends on personal preferences. You talk about access to mountains and forests in Portland, but you're pretty close to these amenities in Boston as well, though Portland is probably closer to the nearest mountains than Boston is. Still, you can make a day trip to the mountains from Boston. You talked about Boston's access to "picturesque New England," but Oregon is beautiful in its own way too, so it really depends on your preferences in terms of scenery. Both areas have pleasant forested scenery in the local countryside outside of the cities, but Oregon has some big western U.S. scenery, such as tall mountains and a wild coastline with rocks and cliffs and big waves, while New England's mountain and coastal scenery is more beautiful, but more subtle and tame than Oregon's most spectacular scenery.

I don't know about the urban planning field and prospects for employment in either city, but you are correct that Boston's housing costs are higher on average than Portland's. You also mentioned Boston's proximity to NYC. Beyond NYC, Boston is closer to more major cities besides itself than Portland is.

A few other factors to consider:

The weather is different. Boston has more of a true four-season climate, with humid summers and cold, snowy winters. Portland tends to be milder during most of the year, with comfortably warm summers and chilly to cool, drizzly winters.

The prevailing attitudes are different. Boston has less of a hippie culture. Despite the leftward leanings of its politics, Boston is rather conservative in the sense that history and tradition are important to a lot of people there, and you're likely to see more people with conventional, conservative styles of dress in Boston. Boston is likely to feel more rushed than Portland, and the people in Boston may seem a bit more reserved and formal in general.

The cities are different in size and infrastructure. Boston is the bigger city in population, and is really substantially larger if you take into account the population of each city's entire metro area. As is the case with other features, it's a matter of preference as to what size city you'd like to live in. On the other hand, Boston is more compact than Portland in land area. As a result, Boston is more densely populated and more densely built, and has a more extensive public transit system.

Hope this gives you some picture of the differences. There are enough differences that there's a good chance you'll find that you'd like one or the other of these cities better than the other. Which one depends on you and your likes and dislikes.
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Old 02-12-2011, 04:17 AM
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 41,244,039 times
Reputation: 11862
Thanks Ogre, the city of Boston itself seems more to my liking than Portland, although Portland seems interesting and quirky with an arty Bohemian scene. Boston winters do seem cold for someone from a place that doesn't see snow (wondering how I'll fare adapting) but then again Portland summers are a bit on the cool side.
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