The Friendly Suburbs

Published: Jan 26th, 2017

Whenever you move, be it to a new city, or an entirely different country – expect there to be a bit of culture shock. What may be considered polite in one area may be considered rude in another, the food may be different, the clothing may be different as well. But there’s a certain shock to the system that many people have when they move to the suburbs from the city. Why are all these people smiling?

Yes, welcome to the happy environs of the suburbs. Maybe it’s the extra space, the fresh air, the abundance of parks, and schools that are less crowded. It could be that many suburbs these days are for all intents and purposes “free standing” – with all the shops, restaurants and jobs right there. No need to fight your way in to the city. But whatever the reason, many people will tell you that the atmosphere in the suburbs is just that much friendlier.

Now that’s not reason alone to move to the suburbs. But it can have a serious impact on your future, and the future of your children. Schools in the suburbs tend to be much less crowded, and parents are very involved in the day to day of what happens in their school district. If you’re new to a community, getting involved on this level is a great way to meet new friends and develop a social network. You may also be surprised at the cultural diversity that you will find in the suburban schools. Your children will meet other children from countries all around the world – a obviously it’s a great plus for youngsters to be exposed to a variety of cultures. This diversity can actually help children make friends, - in an environment where differences are embraced, tolerance of others because the norm.

Typically suburbs are less crowded, with less traffic, and the concerns of the city, such as crime rates, tend to not be as worrisome. You are definitely more likely to see children playing hockey in the streets, or basketball in the driveway – if for no other reason that there is a driveway to play in, and those streets are significantly quieter! You are more likely to see kids walking to school in groups than you might in the city. And those suburban schools often have more resources than their crowded city counterparts. On top of that, the cost of property per square foot is often considerably less than what you pay in the city, and that means that your children will have more space in your home for friends to come over, and for adult entertaining as well.

The adults in the family will appreciate the great resources that the suburbs have to offer, from community centers and book clubs, to local gyms and even senior care homes. Of course, all these activities are available in the city as well. The difference is the accessibility. If you are new to a country, or to a style of living, this access can mean the difference between finding your footing in a new situation, or feeling isolated and alone.

I’m certainly not saying that cities aren’t  nice places, - but lets face it – the hustle and bustle, the smaller homes squished in side by side, busy streets not conducive to children playing, - can cause some distance between people. You may never really know your neighbours. You may not feel comfortable letting your kids play outside unsupervised. Everyone is in a rush. If this is what you are used to, the slower pace and more relaxed vibe of the suburbs can come as a bit of a shock. But don’t let that be a negative. When given the opportunity to live with your family in an area that is affordable, with good schools, great amenities and shopping, diversity, and most of all, a friendly neighbourhood atmosphere – who wouldn’t want to give that a try?

So, if you are thinking of making a move outside of the city, take a drive one day to the suburb of your choice. Check out the various neighbourhoods, and notice the home owners mowing their lawns, and children on their bikes. Enjoy the parks, see the shopping areas, and take a peek at the schools. Walk around a bit and enjoy what you see. While you’re at it, see how many people smile at you.