The Life You Plan to Lead & the City

On another blog, long, long ago, like a couple of weeks, on the topic of crime and neighborhood safety someone had mentioned safety relative to lifestyle. That got me thinking about how some of my neighbors live and how certain aspects of crime doesn’t really apply to them. They don’t use metro, the most they walk is a block or two in the daytime, like most of us they have window bars, and they don’t leave stuff in their cars. Yet the central location of the neighborhood works for them in their careers. Living in a transitional neighborhood comes with a load of negatives but the positives that tend to outweigh those, and there are the parts that strengthen and promote the type of life we plan to live, and the people we want to be.
For myself, I wanted to be a homeowner who lived close to work and someone who wouldn’t need a car. I looked for an affordable, walkable (because I have no car) community along the green line. Being aware of the financial limitations of my profession, affordable was key. And in 2000-2001 when I bought, there were houses going from $80-150K that needed a little or a lot of fixing, it was affordable for the expensive walkability that I needed. Expensive, emotionally because I have to be aware of my surroundings and I walk by depressing situations. It is a price on my mental health I am willing to pay as the dividends of running into neighbors and discovering neighborhood gems compensate. The green line is important to me so I can go to Archives/Navy or West Hyattsville or College Park or PG Plaza or Greenbelt and I can see the people I want to see and do the work I love to do.
But enough about me, who do you want to be and the life you want to live.

4 thoughts on “The Life You Plan to Lead & the City”

  1. This week I will claim to be the newest resident in the neighborhood (moved in Thursday). In my opinion I have basic expectations of the neighborhood and I have hopes. I expect to be careful (avoid being out late at night, bars on windows, etc.) but I hope to become part of a community. In my first week I have met several fantastic neighbors and visited the farmer's market. I'm looking foreward to attending some community functions once we get unpacked and into the groove. I have to say, I lived in a condo on the other side of the convention center for a number of years and I only knew a few people well, everyone kept to themselves. I already feel the new neighborhood is a better fit.

    With this said, I maintain a basic understanding that this is a transitional area with crime and violence. I look to my neighbors, blogs and friends for advice on staying safe but I hope that safety becomes secondary someday so I can enjoy the people and places around me.

  2. Welcome to the neighborhood. Yes, get to know your neighbors, do stuff in the yard, and be neighborhly and you'll find your place in the community. Yes, the safety thing remains important but kinda moves to the background of your thinking.

  3. Buying in this area was certainly all about location, being downtown, close to metro (i am a non driver too – i bike/walk, but my husband drives) and we didnt want/couldnt afford too fancy. The diversity of population & housing plus high density was also essential. even now we can stroll thru georgetown, admire its pristine beauty and still reject ever living there. We moved to 4th st in 2002 to the funkiest block and we felt so comfortable we left our door open all the time. Sure we had crack dealers next door but they were friendly. In the beginning we were like hermits, but not for long. We joined the neighborhood association, met tons of neighbors, got roped into officer duty…Now we are on 5th and we still leave the door open – better light 😉 Yes there is crime, mainly frequent shootings & its amazing how used to it we all get (we shouldnt!)…I can honestly say the neighborhood is safe, except for the flying bullets. odd but true. we are within spitting distance of city vista which is like bliss & makes the price worth it. but the best part about living here is the people you meet. it is so wonderful to walk down the street and know your neighbors, to go to meetings & neighborhood events and interact with all kinds of people you might never have the privilege to meet outside of your usual circles. Being a part of a community somehow makes the urban living experience all complete. I think you can get this just about anywhere with good density, there are always groups & organizations to join. I'd encourage anyone to join your local neighborhood association. its a nice existence. but maybe skip the ANC meetings if you want to keep your sanity 🙂

  4. Welcome to the neighborhood Greg … and arguably the best street in Shaw 😉 Okay, so I'm a bit biased. Your comment was fantastic. It's amazing how many people attempt to come into a neighborhood to change it, rather than to embrace the people who make up the community. I suppose this is the reason why they don't stay too long. There is a lot of history in Shaw and we all need to respect it. Stronger relationships with neighbors makes for a stronger neighborhood! … I'll get off my soap box now. 😀

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