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Old 10-27-2009, 09:12 AM
Location: metro ATL
8,190 posts, read 12,333,660 times
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Originally Posted by Atticman View Post
Why not just move into an historic neighborhood in DC proper?
Precisely. Several of them exist. Or move to Alexandria.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:41 AM
Location: West Michigan
3,077 posts, read 5,452,059 times
Reputation: 4328
I second the vote for Grand Rapids, MI.

Last edited by michigan83; 10-27-2009 at 10:57 AM..
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:36 PM
Location: Somewhere below Mason/Dixon
6,523 posts, read 7,468,006 times
Reputation: 10927
Michigan 83, that looks like a heritage hill area photo eh?
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Old 10-28-2009, 04:54 AM
Location: West Michigan
3,077 posts, read 5,452,059 times
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Originally Posted by danielj72 View Post
Michigan 83, that looks like a heritage hill area photo eh?
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Old 10-28-2009, 02:26 PM
Location: Durham, NC
2,536 posts, read 8,126,544 times
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(down-to-earth people, historic architecture, distinct neighborhoods, walkability) & (diversity, tolerance, social progression, highly literate and intelligent population) are both very much found in Durham, NC.

Durham is at the center of one the most educated region in the nation (NC's Triangle region), has a lot of relatively affordable historic properties in walkable neighborhoods like Trinity Park and is home to a leading university - Duke U. It is also a very diverse town with significant minority & GLBT populations and also hosts the annual NC Pride event. Off all your criteria, walkability would probably score the lowest, but it all depends on the neighborhood you choose to live in. Plus with all the revitalization going on in downtown and surrounding areas overall walkability is improving considerably.
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:25 PM
2,097 posts, read 5,872,580 times
Reputation: 918
Ann Arbor, Shaker Heights, Lakewood, Madison, etc
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Old 10-28-2009, 07:19 PM
Location: Alexandria, VA
755 posts, read 1,521,009 times
Reputation: 589
What about Philadelphia?
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Old 10-29-2009, 05:47 AM
2,816 posts, read 5,388,989 times
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Pittsburgh sounds a lot like what you're looking for. And you won't have to move very far.
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Old 10-29-2009, 03:04 PM
Location: Somewhere extremely awesome
3,029 posts, read 2,465,016 times
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Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
Ohio has also crept up onto my radar (along with believe it or not Michigan). I visited Cincinnati once and really enjoyed it, although I didn't spend enough time in the city proper to get a good enough "feel" for it (I was visiting friends in Anderson Twp. in the suburbs). I've admittedly never been to Dayton and have only heard awful things about it, but then again what I've come to learn from my tenure here on City-Data is that those who dislike an area will chirp the loudest while those who are content where they live normally just sit back and don't bother to rave about it.

I know I'm going to get the standard "PA, OH, or MI? There's no jobs there! Are you nuts?" types of replies, but that's honestly where I'm honing in on (along with some other cities like Peoria, IL, Dubuque, IA, the Twin Cities, Duluth, MN, and Richmond, VA). To me I don't need to be earning six-figures and driving an Audi to feel "accomplished" (the way many here in NoVA do). I plan to obtain my MBA or MPA and potentially open my own business, so "making big bucks" is of little concern to me. What's more important is that I move to a city with good roots---a place with homes that aren't primarily mass-produced vinyl/particle-board garbage on cul-de-sacs, a place where people care more about chit-chatting with you on your front porch with lemonade than they do about trying to out-do you all the time or stab you in the back, a place where people may not necessarily be the brightest but have hearts of gold, etc. I'm looking for Bedford Falls or Mayberry in a nation that is trying its damndest to make those sorts of environments disappear. I'm seeking an area with nostalgia, history, charm, diversity, and (most importantly), housing prices attainable for the middle-class (let's say $40k-$80k annual household incomes).
If you're interested in Michigan, here are places I might recommend:

Ann Arbor: It's the home of the University of Michigan, one of the elite universities in the country, and a lot of the jobs in the area require education. It definitely would have what you are looking for in terms of diversity, progressiveness, and LGBT concerns. I don't know if Ann Arbor is really Rust Belt-ish, though. It has great cultural amenities, but it's also a little bit of a bubble, and has somewhat of a snob appeal to it. It's kind of like what would happen if you took Boston or San Francisco, divided the population by six, and plopped it 40 miles west of Detroit.

Grand Rapids: Other people have mentioned it here. From what I understand, the area seems to have a good community feel to it. I'm not sure how progressive it is - the area has tended to be conservative in the past, although I think the city of Grand Rapids itself is not as much so. In terms of diversity, it might be more so than Scranton, but it's definitely less diverse than northern Virginia. The area is a little bit larger than Scranton from what I remember.

Kalamazoo: It's a college town (Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College) with some Rust Belt feel. I believe they have something called the Kalamazoo Promise, which will help pay for college for kids that enroll in the district. From what I hear, it's relatively progressive; I'm not sure about diversity. From what I can tell, it has a good community feel to it.

Lansing/East Lansing: This is my hometown, so I'm the most familiar with this one. I'd describe the area as a strange mix of Rust Belt and College Town, with Michigan State University being located in East Lansing and some other schools in the area. I'd be comfortable saying that it's the second most progressive area in the state, behind Ann Arbor, and has a fairly decent amount of diversity, so I don't think you'd have a problem there. There is still some old-school auto factory mentality in the area, but it's juxtaposed with the educated community. In terms of community, it's decent - there's a bit of a transient feel to it at times, but there are a lot of more permanent types as well. It is (or was) probably the most GM dependent of the suggestions, although I think most of those jobs have disappeared by now.

One note: the cities I've listed are relatively close to their peak populations. Lansing has declined by about 15% since its peak; the others are within 5% of their peak from what I can tell, so I don't know how that would feel in comparison to Scranton.
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Old 10-31-2009, 06:32 AM
Location: Baltimore
1,345 posts, read 3,769,492 times
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DC has plenty of what you're looking for. You live in a suburb. It's not even a close in suburb. It's outside of the beltway which means it isn't urban at all. Don't judge the whole area by that because they are not alike at all. One of my friends moved here from Scranton and he loves it. He lives in Brookland which isn't even a great neighborhood in DC. I live in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood and there is plenty of history.
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