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Old 04-12-2012, 11:34 AM
 
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My family and I arrived in Minnesota last June, and have been living in the SW suburbs. As our lease comes up for renewal, I wonder how life in Minneapolis proper might be better than out here in suburbia. Is there a strong sense of community in the city, and are people more friendly? Also, in your opinion, which Minneapolis neighborhoods are good for a young family? Thanks in advance for sharing your thought and opinions!
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:10 PM
 
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What kind of neighborhood do you want? There's a big variety within Minneapolis itself, from the more urban and very walkable to the more "suburban" to the more "village" type areas like Linden Hills. I think Linden Hills is the ULTIMATE neighborhood in terms of family-friendly amenities, but it's just one of many nice options.

Kingfield is a very nice neighborhood with a very strong sense of community and very active, friendly neighbors.

And then there's my favorite Minneapolis neighborhood: CARAG in the Uptown area, which doesn't have as many kids as, say, Kenny (another great neighborhood if you're looking for tons of kids and young families), but which is where I'd personally choose to raise my young family if we were here for the long-run. Strong sense of community, nice neighbors, extremely walkable. Areas over by the river and by Lake Nokomis, etc., are more affordable and are very popular with young families these days.

Exact fit is going to depend on your budget and preferred type of neighborhood/amenities. But yes, I think, generally speaking, there's a good sense of community in the city. Most, if not all, official neighborhoods have websites and facebook pages and email groups, and many have newspapers, so you can get a general sense of the "vibe" through late night research in addition to checking it out in person.
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:12 PM
 
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There's a WIDE range of opinion on this topic. There are a lot of urbanist types who look down on suburban living, and a lot of suburban dwellers who criticize the city lifestyle. It depends on what YOU want.

I mentioned this elsewhere, but there's a general attitude amongst many who live in the city, that people out in the suburbs and exurbs have no sense of community, because its a car-based existence. Having lived in an urban, suburban, and semi-exurban environment, and knowing people who live in all three, I've observed that those in the 1990's-2000's exurban tract developments actually have MORE of a sense of community than the others.

The reason for this, is the people in those developments tend to have a lot in common. Usually younger families or couples. These people socialize, get together for dinner, drinks, bonfires, parties, etc. This wasn't just my experience - it holds true for almost everyone I know who lives in these types of neighborhoods. Contrast that with my friends who live in the city or older suburbs. I don't know any of them who regularly socialize with neighbors - most don't even speak to their neighbors.
I don't miss the commute, or the poorly built tract housing, but I do miss the neighbors.
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Cleveland bound with MPLS in the rear-view
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uptown_urbanist View Post
What kind of neighborhood do you want? There's a big variety within Minneapolis itself, from the more urban and very walkable to the more "suburban" to the more "village" type areas like Linden Hills. I think Linden Hills is the ULTIMATE neighborhood in terms of family-friendly amenities, but it's just one of many nice options.

Kingfield is a very nice neighborhood with a very strong sense of community and very active, friendly neighbors.

And then there's my favorite Minneapolis neighborhood: CARAG in the Uptown area, which doesn't have as many kids as, say, Kenny (another great neighborhood if you're looking for tons of kids and young families), but which is where I'd personally choose to raise my young family if we were here for the long-run. Strong sense of community, nice neighbors, extremely walkable. Areas over by the river and by Lake Nokomis, etc., are more affordable and are very popular with young families these days.

Exact fit is going to depend on your budget and preferred type of neighborhood/amenities. But yes, I think, generally speaking, there's a good sense of community in the city. Most, if not all, official neighborhoods have websites and facebook pages and email groups, and many have newspapers, so you can get a general sense of the "vibe" through late night research in addition to checking it out in person.
This is where you and I vouch for Kenny, because the Kenny neighborhood is the quentessential young family area in Minneapolis! It's affordable too!
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Mahtomedi, MN
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I lived in SW Minneapolis for a long time and now am out in the burbs. Not sure I would do that move again, but there are some nice advantages to both situations as well as drawbacks. I was in Fulton and seemed to me that neighbors knew each other a lot better even though it was a real mix of folks. I most miss the having everything close and getting to and from places in the city quickly, and I most enjoy having a new home with more space, bigger lot and some more open spaces in the burb.
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Old 04-12-2012, 01:12 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
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Our local Mpls hater/suburb lover will be along soon to tell you that there is nothing in Minneapolis that you can't get in any suburb.
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Old 04-12-2012, 03:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Laggard View Post
Our local Mpls hater/suburb lover will be along soon to tell you that there is nothing in Minneapolis that you can't get in any suburb.
And that will be true....
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Old 04-12-2012, 11:30 PM
 
1,816 posts, read 2,866,925 times
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Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
And that will be true....
Even if we ignore points like density, sidewalks everywhere (regardless of their necessity), well-built turn-of-the-century housing stock, and one of the best urban park systems/lakes in the country, one could still argue you don't get big-city living in the suburbs. Not that you get that everywhere in Minneapolis. But it is something.
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:20 AM
 
988 posts, read 1,721,259 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtb2008 View Post
My family and I arrived in Minnesota last June, and have been living in the SW suburbs. As our lease comes up for renewal, I wonder how life in Minneapolis proper might be better than out here in suburbia. Is there a strong sense of community in the city, and are people more friendly? Also, in your opinion, which Minneapolis neighborhoods are good for a young family? Thanks in advance for sharing your thought and opinions!
Perhaps a classic "is the grass greener on the other side?" question, and one many people commonly ask.

I would say in the city, with a presumably higher density than most suburbs, you are more likely to have neighborhood associations and possibly more potential interaction with more people (since there are more of them). To that extent, there may be more sense of community but also assumes you will take the effort to be involved in the association and you find others in said associations you wish to associate with to make the effort to reach out to those people. When I lived in NE Minneapolis, I was involved in the neighborhood association and found some connection, but conversely don't think I spent significant amounts of time even with those people involved in the association as I had my own work and set friends/family to interact with, just like many of my neighbors.

That said, I would ask as community and friendliness are the stated important items to you, have you attempted to reach out to neighbors in your current 'burb? I'm not trying to be accusatory here, just inquisitive towards seeing if you will actually get something should you move to the city on the hope of finding more community interaction. Also, have you checked to see if your 'burb has any neighborhood associations or reasonable equivalents? Maybe the answer is yes and maybe no, but items to think about. I also realize some 'burbs are more conducive to doing that reaching out than others. I could see associations or independent reaching out being more likely in a 'burb such as Richfield or Hopkins, more difficult in a suburb such as Maple Grove or Apple Valley (not impossible, but different feel).

I'm not sure people are necessarily any more or less friendly in burbs than city other than in a higher density area you might have more happenstance interaction with neighbors as opposed to having to make a slightly more special effort.

I think there are advantages and disadvantages to both, which is perhaps obvious or perhaps in spite of those on our happy little forum that will stridently argue their side of the city vs. burb debate. I wouldn't absolutely rule out one or the other, but give a lot of thought on exactly what interaction you want and, as mentioned above, to what extent you initiate such interaction.
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Old 04-13-2012, 07:27 AM
 
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I've wondered similar things myself, and I think that, no matter where you go, its such a block-by-block situation that you can't make overly sweeping generalizations. Certainly things like sidewalks, housing density, and local parks and trails make a difference, as any of that increases the chances that you'll bump into people out and about. Demographics matter, too...if you are around other people who have similar education, or jobs, or kids of the same age, that all increases the chances that you'll get to be friendly with your neighbors. I'm also convinced that attached garages and privacy fences are both detrimental to neighborhood community (but oh so nice for winter!).

The best example I know is a couple blocks my friends lived on in another state, and everyone knew everyone else, the kids all played together, and they seemed to be BBQing in each others yards all summer long. That neighborhood's features:

(1) Generally suburban in layout
(2) Sidewalks everywhere
(3) Most people were between 29 and 39 years old
(4) Within 5 houses on one block, I believe there were over 20 kids under the age of 10 or so.
(5) Most of the women were stay-at-home moms (I bet this was the biggest factor)
(6) Yards were either unfenced, or had chain-link fence no more than waist high.
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