686: Place to Live

A Thousand Things to Talk About
686: Place to Live

If you’re lucky enough to have a choice of where you may live, then it’s a choice that could have a big impact on the life that you live from that point forward. While the question of correlation and causation is very difficult to tease out, there are several things that correlate pretty closely with the places that we live.

CityLab, which takes a look at many of the factors of the places we dwell, studied the correlations between the things we think will make us happy and the things that actually make us happy. Quote:

despite differences among urbanites and suburbanites, the same basic factors seem to drive the way residents rate the places they live. Those include feeling safe at night, and having access to good jobs, high quality parks and recreation, and arts, culture and nightlife. Furthermore, it’s not any one single factor, but the interplay of several that shape how residents’ rate the places where they live.

Keeping that in mind, the place that you live may also have an impact on your personality — or at least what elements of your personality are expressed. As CNN reported in 2017, quote:

Cultural institutions and values span generations and inculcate newcomers through “social contagion,” and people tend to absorb practices and values of those around them. […] social susceptibility may be one of the strongest forces in encouraging new residents to dial up some personality traits while toning down others. For example, a network of happy people can make a person happier; on the other hand, adults who move to new areas where they are in the ideological minority often feel isolated and become less able to take the perspective of others.

So looking at all of this, how is one supposed to even decide where you should live if you do have the choice? Comparing all of the factors may, at the absolute best, be a mind-twisting exercise. So there is, of course, an app fo that. As Smithsonian Magazine discussed in 2017, an app called Teleport will help balance all of the things you value with the kinds of decisions you do or don’t want to make, and names a city or cities that might be the best for you.

Then again, maybe what you look for has more to do with the people than the place itself — or perhaps not.