Urban families building city experien...

Urban families building city experience for kids

There are 38 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Jun 29, 2008, titled Urban families building city experience for kids. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

When Jennifer Howell and her husband, Chandler, moved to the Chicago area in 2004, they bought a place in the suburbs because they had a toddler.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.

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sarahmas

Irvine, CA

#23 Jun 30, 2008
non smoker wrote:
<quoted text>
It's almost necessary to change your lifestyle, if you don't you're kinda selfish. I always put my daughter before me, if she needs a nap then I don't run to the mall with her. She goes everywhere with me, but I do make sacrifices for her that I never had to make before.
As for the burbs vs the city, I like the city, but I also like living in a close suburb that can take me to the north side in 40 minutes. I also could not afford to be a stay at home Mom if we lived in the city!
Did you actually read what I wrote? I didn't say anything about not letting my kids nap or not meeting their physical or emotional needs.
sarahmas

Irvine, CA

#24 Jun 30, 2008
city gal wrote:
All of the attacks! Whatever happened to "live and let live"?
Oh, the irony! Did you read what you wrote? Your entire post was a very thinly veiled racist attack on the "afro" youths in your neighborhood.

I don't discount your story and I believe you when you say there are safety issues in your neighborhood. But you lose credibility when you lament the exact attitudes you express yourself.
Vaughan Johnson

United States

#25 Jun 30, 2008
sarahmas wrote:
<quoted text>
Did you actually read what I wrote? I didn't say anything about not letting my kids nap or not meeting their physical or emotional needs.
Yeah we read it. What is the city but a bunch of restaurants and shops crammed into a little space? Do you really think you'll be going to museums and art galleries every day when you have a kid? If so, I feel sorry for you. Your lifestyle WILL change and if it doesn't, then you're (oooh look, no grammar for you to correct this time. Guess you'll have to come up with a real rebuttal instead) a selfish person.

Your kid is still going to play video games and watch TV and go to the mall and living in the city isn't going to change that.

I also think you people need to learn a little bit more about carbon footprints. Try factoring in the large amount of garbage you create in such a small space. Or think about the amount of waste you empty into the lake or how much water you take out compared to the rest of us. Consider the impact of all the construction that is constantly being done in the city. I'm pretty sure my house left a much smaller carbon footprint that the enormous cranes and machinery required to build your taller buildings.

You want to live in the city? Fine. But don't try to rationalize it and tell me that it's a healthier environment for a child. It's more expensive to live there. The schools are worse. The crime rate is significantly higher. The people that do this are not making the choice for their children, they're making it for themselves and to me that's just sad.
Lara

University Park, IL

#26 Jun 30, 2008
"You want to live in the city? Fine. But don't try to rationalize it and tell me that it's a healthier environment for a child. It's more expensive to live there. The schools are worse. The crime rate is significantly higher. The people that do this are not making the choice for their children, they're making it for themselves and to me that's just sad."

You are just wrong. I'm sorry it this starts confrontational, but you are. My husband and I are making the choice to live in the city for our child. We both grew up in suburbs, and we love the diversity the city offers. Sure, there is a different set of problems with getting through the maze of the school system, but living with street smarts and knowing how to take public transportation will only benefit our child. We live in a two flat; my husband takes the train to work; we walk to stores we frequent. I'm pretty sure our carbon footprint is pretty small.

I recently went through the entire elementary school process, and it was intense. But I'm thrilled there are options. And I don't feel they are inferior to schools in the suburbs. They are different, certainly, but there are good and bad schools everywhere. I'm an educator, and I've seen them all over.

It doesn't have to be city vs. suburbs. I'm glad some of the city schools are thriving. I wish all of them were. They won't until suburb vs. city can come together and recognize that good schools for all kids make a thriving region.
Vaughan Johnson

United States

#27 Jun 30, 2008
City schools will never improve as long as they continue to fall under the same large umbrella. There's no way a school district can effectively educate and meet the needs of students with such a large number of schools to manage.

I grew up in the suburbs and I learned how to use public transportation just fine. Apparently you and your husband did as well. We have buses and trains in the suburbs as well.

I also question the ethnic diversity of the city vs. the suburbs. I teach in a suburban school and I'm willing to bet that our building is far more diverse than most, if not all, of the city schools.

A city doesn't raise your child or instill it with beliefs, skills, and values. You do. I have yet to see an argument in any of these posts that doesn't come across as adults trying to rationalize their desire to keep living in the city. I understand there are people who live there out of necessity but if given the choice, I can't imagine choosing that life for a child.
sarahmas

Irvine, CA

#28 Jun 30, 2008
Vaughan Johnson wrote:
A city doesn't raise your child or instill it with beliefs, skills, and values. You do.
I agree with this statement. But remember, "city" could mean Chicago or New York or Oak Park or Peoria.

It doesn't make any sense for you to say this and then go off on a rant that people who live in [urban areas] are selfish and not providing for their kids. That claim is just ridiculous. Live in the suburbs. Love it. Relish it. Eat at the Olive Garden every night. But it's not the choice I would make.

Oh and thanks for feeling sorry for me! Awesome.
Vaughan Johnson

United States

#29 Jun 30, 2008
Yeah we have an Olive Garden but we also have a lot of smaller, independently owned restaurants as well. Comments like that only cement my point that most parents choose to live in the city for it's entertainment value and for a smug feeling of cultural superiority.

City means Chicago. I've observed classrooms in city schools both "good" and bad and I'd never put my kid through that system. You might want to ask your kid's teacher where his/her children go to school. You might be surprised to find that a pretty large number of Chicago public school teachers put their kids in private school. I'm thinking maybe they know something you don't.
Jennifer

Stamford, CT

#30 Jul 1, 2008
Gator_Chicago wrote:
Jennifer,
Sure is cheaper... who wants to live in Arl. Heights?... You can't afford it here in Chicago, so it is ok for you ...
I have an avg. size family, and were not rich. But would much rather stay here than move to any burb... The commute truly makes the city offlimits.
<quoted text>
My commute is 40 minutes door to door including a 30 minute Metra ride. Most of my city living colleagues take much longer to get to our Loop office than that, and that's driving because public transport isn't even an option.
Not sure how wanting to put my hard earned salary towards a college education for my daughter instead of a Lincoln Park box makes me cheap or poor. But OK.
Jennifer

Stamford, CT

#31 Jul 1, 2008
Julia wrote:
<quoted text>
Did you not read the article? It's all about how there are great schools in the city.
Self-centered, lazy people like you are why we don't live in the suburbs.
Just the fact that your (multiple) cars' needs are on your short list of reasons to live somewhere. Way to hate your country and your planet.
Our kids can walk to multiple playgrounds, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, and swimming pools as well as to their friends' homes. And, of course, school. When was the last time you walked anywhere?
Do you know me? No you don't. How do you know I don't walk anywhere? Do you know that my husband and I didn't even have drivers licenses our whole lives until we lived in DOWNTOWN CHICAGO because we never needed them until then? We couldn't walk to the grocery store like we can now. My husband couldn't take the El or a bus to his suburban job. And I said we CAN park our cars for free. Not that we NEEDED to. Excuse me for preferring to spend $250 a month saving for my kid's college instead of parking. Gosh I'm just so selfish aren't I.
I get that there are some great schools. I just don't see the point in fighting to get into one of them when there's no need. I'll leave those places for people who want and need them.
And please don't call me lazy. I gave up a six-block commute to get my daughter into a good school.
Susan

Chicago, IL

#32 Jul 1, 2008
Vaughan Johnson wrote:
Yeah we read it. What is the city but a bunch of restaurants and shops crammed into a little space? Do you really think you'll be going to museums and art galleries every day when you have a kid? If so, I feel sorry for you. Your lifestyle WILL change and if it doesn't, then you're (oooh look, no grammar for you to correct this time. Guess you'll have to come up with a real rebuttal instead) a selfish person.
Your kid is still going to play video games and watch TV and go to the mall and living in the city isn't going to change that.
I also think you people need to learn a little bit more about carbon footprints. Try factoring in the large amount of garbage you create in such a small space. Or think about the amount of waste you empty into the lake or how much water you take out compared to the rest of us. Consider the impact of all the construction that is constantly being done in the city. I'm pretty sure my house left a much smaller carbon footprint that the enormous cranes and machinery required to build your taller buildings.
You want to live in the city? Fine. But don't try to rationalize it and tell me that it's a healthier environment for a child. It's more expensive to live there. The schools are worse. The crime rate is significantly higher. The people that do this are not making the choice for their children, they're making it for themselves and to me that's just sad.
Wow. Almost everything you just wrote is factually wrong. The carbon footprint of a person living in the city is on average significantly smaller than someone living in the suburbs. Drug use is higher in the suburbs. Crime rate for *equivalent* neighborhoods is higher in the suburbs (no fair comparing a public housing block with Kenilworth). The city is much more than restaurants and shops, whereas the suburbs are generally clusters of nothing-but-houses and other clusters of nothing-but-shopping-malls (which requires the use of a car to get from one to the other).

Children in the city do go to museums, zoos, and other cultural events at a high rate, because it is so easy to do, and because they have parents who have chosen to live where it is possible to give them a full life experience. Far from being selfish, it is a wise and responsible choice to live in the city with your family.

When I go out to the suburbs, I don't see as many kids playing in yards or walking or biking to friends' houses as I do in our city neighborhood. Almost everyone is inside or in a car. People don't know their neighbors. Talking with the kids is disheartening, because all they know is brand names, TV shows, and who's in the popular clique at school.

I have friends who have managed to raise their children responsibly and ethically in the suburbs, but in virtually every case, the "suburb" was actually a small city (Oak Park or Evanston) or the parents worked extra hard to make sure that their kids spent a lot of time in the city.

And when you really work the numbers, including such factors as needing multiple cars and paying for insurance and gas, living in the suburbs isn't all that cheap. If you're so selfish that you simply have to have a McMansion, then yes, you won't be able to afford that in the city. But a livable square footage that doesn't include cathedral ceilings in your front entryway is affordable in the city. It all depends on your priorities.
sarahmas

Irvine, CA

#33 Jul 1, 2008
Vaughan Johnson wrote:
City means Chicago.
How does this relate to your quote from above?

"A city doesn't raise your child or instill it with beliefs, skills, and values. You do."

So... Chicago doesn't raise your child, but Schaumburg does? I love your faulty logic. It's super entertaining.
aghhhhhhhh

United States

#34 Jul 1, 2008
sarahmas wrote:
<quoted text>
Oh, the irony! Did you read what you wrote? Your entire post was a very thinly veiled racist attack on the "afro" youths in your neighborhood.
I don't discount your story and I believe you when you say there are safety issues in your neighborhood. But you lose credibility when you lament the exact attitudes you express yourself.
No, dude. YOU read the post again. The OP was talking about the black thugs who attacked the kids on the L train, not the neighbors! Your political agenda is showing.
sarahmas

Irvine, CA

#35 Jul 1, 2008
aghhhhhhhh wrote:
<quoted text>
The OP was talking about the black thugs who attacked the kids on the L train, not the neighbors!
From the original post:

"It's true that my kid and her friends don't hang around in someone's basement getting drunk.(But the **** s kids in our hood do)
No hanging around a mall either.(The mall nearby is too unsafe to shop at, even in the day)."

Sounds like she hates her neighbors to me.
aghhhhhhhh

United States

#36 Jul 1, 2008
sarahmas wrote:
<quoted text>
From the original post:
"It's true that my kid and her friends don't hang around in someone's basement getting drunk.(But the **** s kids in our hood do)
No hanging around a mall either.(The mall nearby is too unsafe to shop at, even in the day)."
Sounds like she hates her neighbors to me.
Since when is talkin' about what goes down in your neighborhood "hating your neighbors"? She's just telling it like it is. What--she's got NO right to express HER reality???? It's "hateful" to do so? What planet are YOU living on? Or more to the point---do YOU live in a neighborhood like the one she's describing????
sarahmas

Irvine, CA

#37 Jul 1, 2008
aghhhhhhhh wrote:
<quoted text>
Since when is talkin' about what goes down in your neighborhood "hating your neighbors"? She's just telling it like it is. What--she's got NO right to express HER reality???? It's "hateful" to do so? What planet are YOU living on? Or more to the point---do YOU live in a neighborhood like the one she's describing????
Oh calm down. Did I say she has no "right to express her reality"?
Angela

Chicago, IL

#38 Jul 4, 2008
Its nice that European Americans are reclaiming their city ;-)

Racists like to call it "gentrification" but when nonwhite crime forces whites to leave it's called "white flight" rather than ethnic cleansing.
demi1

Ellijay, GA

#39 Jul 22, 2008
I know one builder in the city caters to this market. I've seen their homes which are really nice, but I know they focus on building in areas with good schools. I caught this site for info: http://gammonleychicago.wordpress.com/2008/07...
bgrant

Pasadena, MD

#40 Jul 23, 2008
we've been considering moving to the city and so i've been looking up various things online to try to convince me (it is a very one-sided search so far).
related to this article is a post i read on some ezine or blog or whatever, and i swear it made me want to move to the city right then and there because it was so funny.
http://parentzing.wordpress.com/
i forget the exact title but it is something like "this is your brain on suburbs" like that old drug commercial with the fried eggs (I am dating myself here)

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