15 Comments

Rings true. You should read the Supernuclear Substack if you haven't!

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Recently moved within an eight minute walk to one of my best friends and it has immensely strengthened our friendship. The sheer proximity allows us to see each other 4-5 times a week! That number eclipses the amount of time we saw each other in one calendar year!

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LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION!

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I'm in total agreement with this. All my choices of neighborhood thus far in life have been driven by finding cheap rent, but I really aspire to commit to a neighborhood I love and pull friends into that orbit.

Most of my work and social life is pulling me towards Hayes Valley, so I'd like to move in that direction eventually if I manage to stay in SF, but my rent up north is too cheap to give up right now. Cheap rent is a good problem to have though, so I can't complain too much (,:

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Great read! I went from Chicago to Tucson and back to Chicago because I hated Tucson so much lol. The hot weather lovers do not make sense to me. Also, having friends is nice.

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This is one of the strongest beliefs I hold! We lived in one part of the Upper West Side for a few years and loved it. Moved ten blocks north to a much nicer apartment—on Central Park West, even—and my entire relationship ship with the city changed. The CITY, not just the UWS. My daily routines were different. The people and restaurants and shops and ENERGIES I experienced every day were completely different. After a couple years of that, we ended up thinking we were done with NY altogether and bought a house in CT (which was definitely not the right choice). Ended up back on the UWS in the perfect area for us, and I’m just so dang happy to wake up every day.

In most neighborhoods, everything changes from block to block. Finding the vibe that works for you is EVERYTHING.

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As with a neighborhood, so also with friends, spouse, habits, activities, media use, and thoughts: choose well ;-)

Your medium and media are the means of message and massage that you receive and give.

PS: “habits” and “habitus” (the latter means your poise, the way you stand) come from a really ancient word meaning “grasp” - you are what you hold in your hands and tread with your feet

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This was a fantastic reframe for me. Figuring out where I want to live has been super top of mind for me— I think about it every day. But when I ask myself the question “where do I want to be” for the umpteenth time, im thinking about cities as a whole and what friends/fam do I have in x city… and the whole neighborhood comes as an afterthought. Historically when I think about neighborhoods I think of how close I want to be to x landmark, is it close to a subway station and how long will it take me to get out of the city?

Maybe this is an immigrant thing but growing up in South Bay my parents never really had the luxury to consider whether or not they like the neighborhood nor did they interact with neighbors much— we moved every year for awhile. Everything was price + logistics driven. So I guess I just never really even consideres my neighborhood as… an entity??

Anyways I’m really stoked to play with the “where do I want to be” question through a whole new lens. I’ve never been so stoked for pt 2 of an article!! Thank u Ava 💜

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This makes so much sense. I lived a block behind the Kaiser Permanente building on Geary for two years and while it’s within a 20-25 minute walk to A LOT, it’s within a 5 minute walk to… nothing. Plus the hospital cast a massive shadow on my house, so that plus the marine layer that clears up just 2 more blocks over past Divis… yeah, I hated it. Sadly, I projected that onto the entire city as a whole and I’ve always wondered if I would have stayed in SF longer had I chosen the sunnier Marina or warmer-ish Mission to live. Great read!

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So much depends on the immediate walkable radius around your home.

But as you mentioned - you were surprised by how much you love your new neighborhood.

You can only be so intentional about finding a perfect neighborhood fit. You don’t really know until you know.

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After 5 years living aborad, I'm moving back to the San Francisco Bay Area. Love the defining lens and importance of neighborhoods.

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I lived in NoPa and had the same experience. I loved my neighborhood and looking back, it was a big reason why I loved the SF. Now I'm currently looking for a place in LA and so far I'm feeling pulling me towards the Santa Monica/Venice area, and I'm trying to triangulate where would be ideal in terms of the walking distance neighborhood

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I think it's absolutely true and often underestimated. When I talk about the fact that I live in Rome - which by both Italian and European standards is a gigantic city, people see that I talk about it very fondly. It's true, I love the whole city, but what I appreciate most is returning to my specific neighborhood (a well-known area north-east of Rome) and living it every day. To be honest, I even take time in the morning to appreciate it. I think that choosing - and even spending resources and money to do so - to live in a certain neighborhood influences us much more than we think and is often underestimated in personal and well-being considerations. Thank you for reiterating its importance.

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I lived in the outskirts of big cities and it's just a completely different experience as compared to living in the middle of it. And by different I mean inferior, of course

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good article! but may I caution against posting where you live online (even if it’s just a rough approximation)

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