What’s Better: Living In the Cities or the Suburbs?

As modern transit and new housing developments continue to infiltrate communities throughout the Twin Cities, we want to know, where would you rather live?

There’s a certain sex appeal to living downtown. The proximity to restaurants, businesses and museums brings a New York City feel to those settling into their renovated lofts in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

But a recent push to develop more housing and add new restaurants to cities on the outskirts of Minneapolis begs the question:

Do Minnesotans favor suburbia over city life?

Ten minutes from downtown, Golden Valley is one Twin Cities community that is looking to grow, and hoping to take with it those that favor downtown living.

Golden Valley city officials are reviewing plans that would bring 750 new apartments to the community. Apartment developers say that single residents who work downtown would find it appealing to live outside of the city.

Fifteen minutes north on Highway 169, eight new housing developments are currently underway in Maple Grove. The developments carry the potential to bring more than 500 homeowners to the community.

Developers may be onto something.  In a recent New York Times article, writer Alex Williams says that “hipsters” are moving to suburban neighborhoods and taking their city life with them.

Williams writes that many New York suburbs are luring city dwellers with new and improved restaurants, yoga studios and grocery stores. Aren’t suburbs in Minnesota doing the same thing?

The restaurant industry in communities surrounding Minneapolis continues to grow. Gourmet burger joints like Plymouth's Lucky's 13 and trendy cupcake shops like Nadia Cakes make the suburbs feel hip. Yoga studios and organic grocery stores mirror what Williams calls “cosmopolitan bohemia.”

So, what do you think? Do you think momentum is shifting to cause Minnesotans to settle down in suburban neighborhoods, rather than a condo in the city?

Tell us in the comments.

Dennis Holman February 23, 2013 at 05:30 PM
Valerie Engler February 23, 2013 at 05:41 PM
Dennis, any particular reason why you agree with the surge in development in suburban neighborhoods?
Candace Oathout February 23, 2013 at 06:10 PM
I am concerned about the rapid urbanization of our first ring suburbs. The new high density developments tend to remove the feeling of retreat and solitude that come from having some distance between living spaces brings. Much of the appeal of Golden Valley is the natural beauty of its neighborhoods along with its convenient access to the city. Those young singles who work downtown will form families at some point in their lives. Most will prefer not to raise their families in high rise apartments where noises and smells tend to be pervasive in their spread to neighboring units. Living in high density apartments is not conducive to developing strong community bonds. One of the primary traits of Minnesotans is their desire to remain in "place". I admire the stability of our suburban communities for the connectivity they inspire in local families. It is not unusual to see generations of family living in the same neighborhood. This is an understated amenity that is extremely important to the average Minnesotan. Apartment living tends to appeal to a much more mobile lifestyle than is the norm in Minnesota. Developers benefit as it is better for their bottom line to build density. The question is how does it benefit the prospective dweller who has little motivation to move?


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