Are You a Fringe City or Inner City Dweller?

Written by on January 16, 2013 in Lifestyle - No comments | Print this page

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suburban_streetAre you getting tired of smog and noise? Do you yearn for a quieter neighborhood in which to raise your kids and walk your dogs?

If so, you would do well to consider the growing fringe city living trend. Basically, more people are choosing to live on the outskirts of cities to get away from the stress of city living and to cut down on commuting time.

This has become increasingly possible as companies allow employees more flexibility and work-from-home options.

The trend is something that many cities around the world are actively encouraging, as it means fewer carbon emissions, fewer sickies, increased productivity, and happier, healthier citizens.

The trick, of course, is to make these areas more or less self-sustaining, which requires an initial burst of commercial and residential development.

It’s all about community

One of the attractions of living in the fringe is the sense of community that is so often absent in the city. But communities don’t necessarily build themselves; they need rallying points, like community centres, parks, recreational facilities, schools, and libraries. To make them sustainable, they need shopping centres and commercial enterprises.

Regarding the latter, many large companies are opening satellite branches in fringe communities so that their employees don’t have to spend hours commuting to and from work. It also allows them to get more involved in communities, sponsoring sports teams and charities and working closely with schools to improve access to quality educational materials.


Fringe development

Dublin is one of the major cities that are looking to invest significantly in its fringe areas. One of its goals is to create communities in which everything anyone could possibly need is in walking distance. If it’s not in walking distance then reliable public transport will be available to quickly take them where they want to go.

London is also experiencing growing interest in fringe living, especially as residences provide a little more space and breathing room than apartments and homes in the city.

In many instances, residential and commercial properties in fringe areas are more affordable than in the city, but studies have shown that people may be willing to pay slightly more for a house in the fringe just to get away the crowds, noise and congestion.

Small cities close to fringe areas are also expected to benefit from a bit of a population and investment boom as urban sprawl makes it difficult to distinguish where one area ends and another begins.

On the other hand

Not everyone believes in the promise of the fringe. In November 2011, Christopher B Leinberger wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times, in which he posits the ‘death of the fringe suburb’. Leinberger reckons that the rocketing prices of suburban residential homes in the period before the recession contributed to the recession; simply put, too many people bought homes they couldn’t afford and the country paid the price. Now, empty houses, empty malls and deserted commercial properties are all that are left of many fringe areas. Leinberger seems to suggest that it’s a situation from which there is no turning back, and no hope of recovery.

Where is everyone going?

The inner city, which is about as far from the fringe as it’s possible to get.

Many cities are investing in their fringe areas, but they are also revamping their inner cities, many of which have fallen into states of disrepair. In fact, the deterioration of inner cities was one of the primary factors contributing to the growth of the fringe – people wanted to get away.

Now clean-up projects, greening projects and residential and commercial developments are changing all that. Singles and families are finding the communities they seek in the city and they are revelling in the fact that being in the middle of the city means that they can pretty much walk or cycle wherever they need to go, including work.

It seems that there are two kinds of people in the world; those who would give anything to move away from the city and those who would give anything to live in the heart of the city. Cities around the world are catering to both parties by focusing on inner and fringe city development, giving residents the community, convenience and peace of mind they’re looking for.

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This is a guest post.  Written by Sandy Cosser on behalf of Ooba, a home financial services provider that specialises in second bonds and household insurance.

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