The thought of relocating to a new city can be daunting, and you’re likely faced with numerous questions: What will the people be like? Can I get used to the climate? And how are the local school districts? But don’t forget the planet amidst planning and packing!
Consider how your move will help you reduce your carbon footprint, cut back on waste and eco-optimize your daily routine. Whether you’re planning a move for school or work or you’re simply craving a big change, here are 10 questions to ask that will help you determine if your new city will help you lead a more sustainable lifestyle.
1. How will the move affect my commute?
If you aren’t quite sure where you’ll be living or working after the big move, it can be tough to assess how your commute will be affected by the change. But a little planning can go a long way toward choosing the locale that’s right for you.
Start by taking a look at the neighborhoods you can afford to live in. Are these neighborhoods pedestrian friendly? Could you walk or bike to local parks, grocery stores, shops and other amenities? Can you afford to live where you work? If you will have to drive, what is traffic like?
The average American’s commute to work is 25 minutes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. So, a short drive-time isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but don’t settle for something that doesn’t seem right to you. If walking or biking is your primary mode of transportation in your current hometown, consider how the adjustment will affect your lifestyle and if another city could help you stay out of the car and save carbon emissions.
You may also want to ask yourself how much it will cost to keep your car. If the city you’re considering is densely populated, parking spaces may be hard to come by, and you could wind up spending $150 per month or more just to park your car. If this added expense would leave you living in a “cozy efficiency” (aka a closet with a bed), another city may be a better fit for your budget and your lifestyle.
2. Will I have access to public transportation?
Being able to walk or bike to work and other attractions is a win-win for you and the planet: it reduces your carbon footprint, helps you stay active and improves your quality of life overall. But sooner or later, you’ll need to travel farther than two-wheeled transportation will allow. Be prepared by mapping out public transit access ahead of time to avoid unwanted surprises.
Check out your prospective city’s public transit maps to find out how much of the region is accessible by train or bus. If you have a specific neighborhood in mind, take note of nearby train or bus stations when searching for an apartment or house, and choose an abode that’s within walking or biking distance if possible.
If you plan to use public transit often, estimate how long it will take and how much it will cost to get from your prospective neighborhood to other destinations in the city, and factor the findings into your ultimate decision.