Sunday, May 29, 2011

Advantages of our move from house to apartment

We moved two weeks ago from the home of military relatives for whom we had housesat for three years while they were overseas. And I am so glad!

Our new apartment has almost everything I was hoping for in greener urban living:

1) Smaller space. Our new apartment has less than one-third of the square footage of our previous home, but unbelievably, more storage--the most I've ever had in an apartment! It will be so much easier to keep this place warm or cool, as the weather dictates, without using as much energy.

2) More walkability. I had hoped to keep my daughter in the same school system, but live somewhere closer to public transportation and other amenities. We had moved from a neighborhood in Boston with a Walk Score of 85 (very walkable) to a house outside of Tacoma with a Walk Score of 7 (where almost all errands require a car), and I found our car-dependency very frustrating.

We lucked out. We not only found a place in the same school district, but it's also one block from public transportation and two blocks from our local town center. Yesterday, my daughter and I walked to the town center to do our grocery shopping, using a large collapsable canvas shopping bag on wheels that I picked up at a yard sale for $1. It was awesome to be able to do something without driving for a change! Our new neighborhood has a Walk Score of 58.

3) Places to play and garden. One of our relatives' selling points in housesitting was that they had a yard for our daughter to play in, whereas in Boston, we needed to walk to a park. That wasn't the case--they have a beautiful, heavily landscaped yard that was totally inappropriate for a young child to play in. And there were no parks within walking distance. (That will soon change, thanks to a Pepsi Refresh grant my town won to build a new playground).

However, their yard did provide us with the benefit of space to garden, and we had a fun two years of growing our own vegetables and herbs.

One of the downsides of moving to an apartment is that we won't have the space to garden anymore. However, I am growing a few plants on our balacony, and I recently learned that some folks are trying to start a community garden in a park that is three blocks from our new home.

But for my daughter, the move is a real blessing. Not only are there two parks within walking distance of our home, our apartment building is one of several that encircles a huge grassy courtyard where tons of kids play. My very social, very active daughter is loving it. As an unexpected bonus, we found out that my daughter's best friend from school lives in one of the other buildings!

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