When deciding where to live, we all have to balance many personal and family issues. Increasingly, though, people young and old are being attracted to neighborhoods that enable “low-mileage” lifestyles. These are settings with an abundance of opportunities and amenities in close proximity. They make it easy to ride a bike to work, take a bus to stores or walk to places to hang out with friends. They are convenient, vibrant and fun. They let you “drive less, live more.”
Northeast Ohio has only a handful of location-efficient places to call home. From cool urban spots in Tremont and the arts district on the lakefront in Detroit-Shoreway to stately Shaker Square to the fun and friendly Coventry Village, downtown Lakewood and Berea.
Location by the numbers
You can measure—and make informed decisions about—your neighborhood's location: This map reveals that most suburbanites in Northeast Ohio pay 45% of their yearly income on both their housing and transportation. Meanwhile, Cleveland and suburbs with strong transit, biking and walking options save about $200/month on combined housing + transportation costs.
Other benefits to living in an efficient location:
- Improve economic resilience—households are better able to respond to unexpected financial burdens such as fuel price increases, vehicle failures or income losses, and so it reduces housing foreclosures
- Conserve natural areas and farms
- Promotes a greener lifestyle by encouraging fewer and shorter car trips
- Many features of Smart Growth and New Urbanism—from small-lot reuse to housing above commercial development—can reduce housing costs and increase housing options
- Build on historic assets
- A well-connected transportation network with narrower streets and attractive sidewalks slows traffic, making streets safer for vehicles, bikers and pedestrians alike. Attractive, mixed-use development puts more eyes on the street, increasing public safety, and simply makes cities more pleasant
Tips for picking a good location
Travel time to your workplace(s)
In recent times, more and more people are relocating to be nearer their place of work. An increase in traffic means that journeys are taking longer, and many people are reliant on public transport to get to and from their workplace. If you are not familiar with an area, buy a local map, and highlight any areas with good transport links and routes into your work. If you are still unsure, it may be a good idea to do a ‘test run’ before viewing houses in the area.
If you don’t drive, or perhaps find it easier to use mass transit, check the local links i.e., rail or bus stations, in the area where you're looking at homes. Also check the frequency of trains and buses. In some remote areas, limited services may be provided. Remember that even if you do drive, you may at some point need to use public transport to get into work (i.e. bad weather or car problems). If you have children who will need to get into school using the bus, check the timetables for the journey.
Think about the services you use every day—post offices, banks, supermarkets—and check an area for these amenities before you view a house. You may also want to consider leisure options, such as local gyms, swimming pools and sports stadiums. Can you turn an errand into an after-dinner walk? Can you send the kids there on a bike, or are they reliant on you as chauffeur?
Ask yourself, what are the most important attributes about where you live? The answers may surprise you—that you place a high value on easy access to a great many of your daily needs.
Cleveland is the 17th most walkable large city in the U.S., according to Walk Score. Cleveland's most walkable neighborhoods are Downtown, University Circle and Ohio City.
Buildings of the future >
See videos from the Museum's amazing Building with Nature Symposium
Where's the best urban stroll? >
From Shaker to Hudson, here's our list of favorite places to stroll
Help us create the future! >
Your donation helps GCBL bring fresh ideas to Northeast Ohio