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Cities Stake Claim to Being America’s ‘Best Places to Live’

Posted By Ben Fried On July 17, 2008 @ 11:22 am In Bicycling,Bike/Ped,Commuting,Gas Prices,Suburbia | 5 Comments

In a story about the housing downturn, BusinessWeek had some numbers crunched [1] to see where home prices have remained most stable and where they have declined most precipitously:

The results are fascinating. Annual price changes in most of the largest metro areas, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, Seattle, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia, followed a similar pattern: Values were most stable within a 10-mile radius of the center of the city, but generally worsened with each successive radius ring as far as 50 miles from the center of the city.

"There's a pretty clear pattern of neighborhoods close to the urban core holding their values better than neighborhoods in suburban and exurban communities," said Stan Humphries, Zillow's vice-president of data and analytics. "Where there is a lot of supply and demand changes, there's a quicker effect on housing prices." 

It may seem obvious by now that rising gas prices are affecting [2] decisions [3] about where to live, but don't tell that to the editors at Money. As Greater Greater Washington blogger David Alpert points out [4], the magazine's latest list of America's best places to live [5] skews heavily toward the sprawling, suburban side. Of course, Money's readers can probably absorb a spike in transportation costs without too much hardship, which may explain why they don't factor it into their rankings.

A completely different picture emerges from Money's own online series about how people are adapting to more expensive gas [6]. The short profiles read like a public service campaign for living arrangements where cars are not required to make even the most basic trips. Here's what Carrie Zukoski, 41, a PR director living in St. Louis, has to say [7]:

I ride my bike as much as I can. Rising gas prices hurt much less at the pump for me. Last fill up was 22 days in between. This year I'll try to bike even more.

In 2007 I commuted by bike about 1,400 miles. Compared to many people, it's not that much, but for a fair-weather commuter who lives less than five miles from work, it's not too bad.

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URL to article: http://usa.streetsblog.org/2008/07/17/cities-stake-claim-to-being-americas-best-places-to-live/

URLs in this post:

[1] BusinessWeek had some numbers crunched: http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/jul2008/bw20080711_257959.htm

[2] affecting: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121366811790479767.html

[3] decisions: http://usa.streetsblog.org/2008/02/22/todays-mcmansions-tomorrows-tenements/

[4] points out: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post.cgi?id=1046

[5] America's best places to live: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2008/top100/

[6] how people are adapting to more expensive gas: http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2008/news/0805/gallery.real_people_gas/index.html

[7] has to say: http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2008/news/0805/gallery.real_people_gas/41.html

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