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Old 04-18-2012, 03:45 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
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I have the same issues with this usage that some folks have with 'walkable' I guess. families (or families with children, since I take it that is what is implied) can live anywhere adults can, as long as there are schools. I could see ruling out an area that had no units larger than 1br, but we dont really have any areas like that around here. I could see ruling out a jurisdiction with a horrible school district but we dont have anything like that around here. Every area I know in Northern Virginia has children, and has families who like it there. Every area has a school systems that is adored by many of its residents, every area has single family homes and town homes and at least 2 BR apts (sometims 3 BR apts). Every area has playgrounds and parks - and off the top if my head I cant think of one that doesnt have at least some kid focused businesses.

Now some are places where its hard to have a large lawn - or where the schools have lots of kids on reduced price lunch - or where there are hi rises, or lots of single people. But wanting to avoid such places is a matter of personal taste - such places still are places where lots of families find what they want.
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:55 PM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
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Cheap restaurants with abundant parking and a plentiful supply of low-cost detached houses with yards.
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Old 04-18-2012, 04:09 PM
 
Location: Virginia
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Do you really see this term that often? I'm with you, if someone said that I wouldn't know exactly what they wanted, either. Too vague.

I suppose if someone came onto this forum and said they were looking for a place and the only thing they said was they wanted a "family town" I would probably guess they wanted a town where lots of families lived.

But, since that's a guess I'd also ask if that's what they meant. And I'd note that we don't have many towns in northern VA, just in case that mattered. I'd also ask what else they want, and where the job(s) were, since a phrase like that might apply to any place in northern VA but other questions might let us help identify what they really want.
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Old 04-18-2012, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
Do you really see this term that often? I'm with you, if someone said that I wouldn't know exactly what they wanted, either. Too vague.
People come on here ALL the time asking for "family friendly" areas. I assume that's what BBD is referring to.

In reference to that, I guess family friendly to me is an area where it's the norm to see kids playing out in the street, where there are restaurants that not only allow children, but welcome them (with kids menus, crayons, etc), where there are plenty of after school activities and sports teams to enroll kids in, and plenty of things to do as a family on weekends that don't cost a lot of money.

Yes, kids exist everywhere, but there are definitely areas that really welcome them.
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Old 04-18-2012, 04:54 PM
 
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I would think of it as an area with a "tipping point" number of families with children. Some neighborhoods have a high percentage of young single people and young childless couples. Some neighborhoods have a high percentage of older empty-nesters and retirees. (Although the latter can change, as the older residents move or pass away and younger families move in and start the cycle over.)
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Virginia
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Even if someone said "family friendly," which is admittedly a bit clearer than "family town" I would still not be able to help them much unless they gave other details of what they want. Different people have different ideas of what that would mean. The best I could do is tell them where I see a lot of families, maybe post some school scores (if they mentioned something about schools)--or maybe suggest they drive around during after school hours and see if the neighborhood has a mix of kids they like. I'm not sure how much you can tell from school scores, either. I think there's more to a good school than test scores. No, I think what I would do if someone said they were moving here and the only other thing they said was they wanted a "family town" would be to ask for more details. Otherwise any of a hundred places could be the right fit (or maybe not a good fit at all, depending on what they actually want).
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:51 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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This is similar to the walkability thread, where the local forum is helped greatly by examples when one is speaking to a definition. Thank you.
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:30 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,772 posts, read 10,674,733 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliTerp07 View Post
People come on here ALL the time asking for "family friendly" areas. I assume that's what BBD is referring to.

In reference to that, I guess family friendly to me is an area where it's the norm to see kids playing out in the street, where there are restaurants that not only allow children, but welcome them (with kids menus, crayons, etc).
The interesting things is places that immediately come to mind in NoVa where Ive noted not only crayons but play areas include a restaurant (now out of business) just north of Del Ray in Alexandria, and St Elmos coffee shop in Del Ray. And the other day I saw a play area at Argonaut on H street NE, in DC. Im not sure those would immediately leap to mind as family friendly areas

As for playing IN the street, (vs in their yards, on the sidewalk, in playgrounds or parks or squares) while that was done on the block where I grew up (a narrow street with parking cars lining each side served as pretty effective traffic calming) it seems to give a bit of an edge to cul de sacs.
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:32 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,772 posts, read 10,674,733 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
Cheap restaurants with abundant parking and a plentiful supply of low-cost detached houses with yards.

Annandale, there you have it
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:49 AM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,616,501 times
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My fall-back on this is that a "family-friendly" area in this region ought to mean any area where parents are happy raising their children, whether that area is urban, suburban or rural. The rest will follow.

However, in local parlance, some areas are clearly more likely to be labeled "family-friendly" than others. The term connotes exactly what CaliTerp07 mentioned in her post, and Vienna is more likely to be labeled "family-friendly" than the City of Alexandria, no matter how many crayons can be found in Del Ray. If people in Alexandria find that offensive, they can turn Cheesetique into a Cold Stone Creamery and stop recommending Old Town to every 40-something single woman who asks for a recommendation where to live. It's no different from telling people in some other location they need fewer strip malls if if they want their town to get labeled "walkable."

There are some local urban areas that now have so many child-oriented activities, schools and amenities that they people increasingly do, in common parlance, also refer to them as "family-friendly." Capitol Hill, in particular, comes to mind, while places like Columbia Heights and Logan Circle do not. The process of changing these perceptions typically involves thousands of posts on internet forums over an extended period as to how many strollers have been sighted on once-marginal stretches of 14th Street, P Street, etc.

Last edited by JD984; 04-19-2012 at 09:02 AM..
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