We have some friends, Scott and Robyn Duebber, who are also invested in raising their family in the city. For those of us who grew up in a midwestern suburban concept*, city dwelling requires us to reevaluate how we view our lives. Almost nineteen months into this grand experiment, Kelly and I are still glad that we chose to live where we're at. We have many friends and family members who have chosen to raise their kids in the 'burbs, so I don't mean to offend, but there are plenty of obvious reasons to settle out there. So allow me offer another perspective: I think more people should consider establishing their families in urban areas. Sure, it's not for everyone but it's not nearly as bad as people envision it to be. Actually, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience for both parent and child.
The three major reasons that people cite against raising a family in the city is safety, space, and schools. Allow me just a few sentences to explain how we have approached these issues so far.
Safety: I know I've noted before some of the issues we've had down here, but I still feel safer in the city. Perhaps it's because 1) you're conditioned to be more aware of your surroundings and 2) there are always people nearby so you're never fully alone. Unfortunately, just yesterday a little girl was assaulted at the Kroger near our old house. When something like that happens it the suburbs, you struggle to deal with it because you view the suburbs as being safe. I guess you could say since we live in a continual state of heightened awareness that it's not as surprising when tragedy strikes nearby. You might think this is a more stressful existence but, honestly, it's not.
Space: I recently listened to a podacst that talked about how families deal with living in the city. One of the issues they brought up was this issue of space. We don't have a yard for Kaelyn to play in but we have a huge park that we consider our own. Apparently, when you dwell in urban areas, you begin to redefine how you view space. It's no longer just the extent of your property, but also shared community common places. And It's true that we had to dramatically downsize when we moved into the condo. We have a lot less junk than we used to. But it's nice to know that we have what we need to get by.
Schools: OK, so this is the biggest issue for families in urban areas. Whereas many urban districts have schools comparable to those in the suburbs, Cincinnati Public Schools is far behind. Sure, there are various schools throughout the district that receive high marks but it's not indicative of the CPS as a whole. Since we have a few years before Kaelyn starts school we're not worrying about this yet, but we're already thinking about the future. Many parents suggest the Fairview German Language school whose reputation is impeccable. Not sure how I'll feel about the little girl talking smack about me in Deutsch, but I'll get over it. And, as I've said before, Walnut Hills has one of the best secondary schools in the country.
Plus, there are so many advantages from being close to the city center, from the cultural diversity to all the amenities at our disposal it's just a great place to be. We're still figuring this thing out, but we're having a blast doing so.
So, if you're wondering, there are plenty of new places available down here and we'd love some new neighbors, so feel free to join us!
*It should be noted, however, that the term "suburban" literally means sub-urban, originally used to designate those areas that provided a lower standard of living than cities.