Where should I live?

The following options are apparently open to Dr. Schweitzer.

1. West Adams, local neighborhood surrounding USC.
–could walk to work.
–could more easily pop in and pop out for meetings and seminars.
–could invest in a neighborhood that I think has some very nice housing stock and that has suffered for years from disinvestment.
–will undoubtedly grow in value over time.

–going to work more often is not necessarily a good thing
–would be yuppie gentrifier in a neighborhood where that’s not particularly welcome (for good reasons)
–most of these houses are old and in bad shape and need time, money, and attention–and I have little time.
–there are a terrifying number of foreclosures and houses for sale. I have little idea what this community will be like in the next 5 years.

2. Long Beach, cute seaside community
–cute seaside community
–seems to have a very dog-friendly yet urban environment
–quite walkable, but most housing right near transit not terribly desirable
–the only even remotely affordable ocean area left in southern California
–would be more sheltered from work and would be less likely to spend time in my office. I get more research done when I am not in my office than when I am there.
–would be able to take transit to campus, particularly when the Expo line is done.
–housing stock appears to be in much better shape

–cute, seaside community notwithstanding, Long Beach has had some terrible gang problems;
— the commute via transit will be well over an hour in one direction. That’s two hours, morning and night.
–nobody will visit me, undoubtedly. All my LA friends scream when I say that I’m looking at Long Beach. And even though much closer, I suspect that my friends in Orange county won’t cross the Orange Curtain to see me there either.
–I’m terrified of being on the freeway, should transit not be an option for some trips in LA, and it’s often not, and that will restrict much of my activity to Long Beach.

3. Staying where I am at: DTLA
1. Close to campus, easy bus ride or drop off for Andy
2. I already know the community
3. There are some nice condos (though not many)

1. I hate not having a garden. Yah, yah, yah, I know patio/balcony gardens, right? Every New Urbanist’s answer to the garden question. Try finding any balcony space in DTLA for less than a million and get back to me.
2. It’s a PITA to have to take the dogs outside
3. I don’t love it here.
4. I pay way too much rent.
5. My husband is home all day, and I can’t get any work done at home with him here. Right now, working at home is a nightmare; working at my USC office is a nightmare. I need some privacy to write–always have–and writing is a big part of my job.

4. Give up on California and look for jobs in places where I can actually afford to settle down and my dean doesn’t tell me every time he looks at me to become an economist.


Fairly obvious.

1. I love USC, my students, and my colleagues, and I very much like my dean.

2. I hate moving.

3. It’s cold other places.

4. The other places where it isn’t cold, I don’t really want to live in the south. (No yelling at me. I’ve lived in the south and if there is one thing that southerners know how to make obvious: how much they’d rather you not live there, too.)


4 thoughts on “Where should I live?

  1. I vote West Adams. If you are there for a long time, any housing market problems will correct themselves.

  2. I would vote for West Adams too.

    Option number 3 shouldn’t even be considered (“I hate not having a garden” and “I don’t love it here” and “I pay way too much rent”).

  3. I don’t know if you read Matthew Kahn’s “Climatopolis” yet. But in the book he argues that as a result of Global Climate change,the climate models predict the climate in Southern California is going to be a lot more like Jacksonville Florida, filled with hotter more humid summers. But he also goes on to say that if you look at the microclimates in the Los Angeles region those areas right along the coast should be the least impacted. This means that these coastal areas are going to be in even shorter supply and comparatively more valuable.

    Additionally Mia Birk, the bike planner who led Portland’s very successful bike plan has pointed out that new high quality bike facilities like Portland’s Bike Boulevards have been very successful in raising property values as they are implemented. There area also network effects where the more people who use the bike network, the more valuable the bike infrastructure is to local residents. Given that Long Beach has best current bike network in Southern California and seems to have the most aggressive plans for rapidly expanding it, I would vote for Long Beach.

    As you talk to most long term residents of Southern California, there biggest regret generally involves not buying in an ocean adjacent neighborhood when they still had the opportunity to do so.

    Lastly if you have any intent of staying at USC long term, its time to confront your fear of freeways. Spend some time watching Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles below.


    Los Angeles is like no other large city in the world. Avoiding the freeways in Los Angeles is like avoiding the subway in New York. If you do it too much, you loose access to too many interesting things and you have less fulfilling life.

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