Our Definition of Good Urban Living

In addition to our evaluation of the People Friendliness of cities, we have come to realize that there are additional essential elements that should be considered when selecting a good place to call home. These elements comprise the 'quality of living' for a specific house or apartment.

Even in a city that embodies the attributes of People Friendlyness, one may not be very happy or comfortable unless one's actual home has many of these 'quality of living' elements. Obviously, these are subjective and depend on individual preferences but we have listed some of the criteria that are most important for us.

The physical place should be fairly small (25 to 50 m2 (300 to 600 square feet) is a good range), include a living/dining area, a kitchen and a bathroom. A small separate bedroom is nice, but a convertible bed that becomes a couch during the day is acceptable. A terrace is also nice.

Internet connection is essential. TV with cable channels is a nice addition, especially if desired programming is available (we like sports (futbol) and international news (BBC, CNN, Euronews)). A radio is nice, but not often found.

We prefer not to be on the ground floor and if we are higher than the 1st or 2nd floor above ground, an elevator is preferred, especially when carrying heavy bags of groceries. The building and our apartment must be secure but not fortress-like. In a mixed use building, the ground floor should not be a noisy pub that's open late.

The neighborhood must be safe even at night. A park and pleasant streets for walks should be nearby.

Shops within easy walking distance should include: food markets (fruit and veggies, packaged foods, cheese and dairy products, etc.) drugstore, cafes, bars, one or more nice restaurants, and a laundry if there is not one in the apartment or building. Retail areas, a public library, and larger fresh food market should be accessible via transit.

Transportation should be accessible - bus, tram and/or metro stops serving several routes to the city center and other important sites within a block or three.

Drinkable tap water and dependable electric power are major pluses and good air quality is important, too (although this is usually not an issue in most places we visit).

If we can find a place where all or most of these criteria are met, we know we'll really feel happily at home!

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