Unearthing a Neighborhood’s Cultural Landscape

Unearthing a Neighborhood’s Cultural Landscape
Unearthing a Neighborhood's Cultural Landscape

After a long home or apartment search, you think you’ve finally found the perfect place to live. So how do you figure out whether the neighborhood is right for you?

Sometimes atmosphere is just as important to a living situation as the house itself. You want to feel comfortable and see yourself thriving in an area. The following methods can help figure out if the cultural landscape of a neighborhood is right for you.

Take a Walk
Before deciding whether to move, take a walk around the neighborhood to get an idea of what’s around the area. What kind of people are walking around? Is it mostly families? College kids? What kind of establishments surround the neighborhood? Recognizing people like you can help establish whether you might fit in.

Also, think about what you want out of an area and how this neighborhood might meet those needs. If you’re looking for a place to settle down and raise a family, you’ll want to make sure there are schools nearby, so a neighborhood conducive for children will be desirable.

Unearthing a Neighborhood's Cultural Landscape: Take a Walk

Look at Demographics
In 2014, Niche ranked the Greenpoint neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y., as the No. 1 Best Neighborhood for Millennials based on its youthful demographics and racial diversity, among other factors.

Based on the numbers, someone of retirement age may want to reconsider moving to this area, as only 9 percent of residents are 64 and over.

Unearthing a Neighborhood's Cultural Landscape: Look at demographics
Niche Local provides statistics on cities and neighborhoods across the country and can be a very valuable resource when it comes to unearthing a neighborhood’s cultural landscape. While it’s not vital to strictly rely on age and demographics to determine whether you’ll fit in, these statistics are helpful in providing an idea of what to expect and what kind of people you’ll be living among.

Just Ask
Whether you’re on a walk or eating at a nearby restaurant in the neighborhood you’re considering, ask people whether they live there and what they think of the area. Chatting with people in the area not only gives you a ground-level view of the region, it also allows you to shadow a resident there. Gauge whether you feel comfortable or whether it simply doesn’t feel right to you.

Check Out Reviews
For those that aren’t able to chat it up with residents in a neighborhood, do it virtually via Niche Local, which offers neighborhood reviews on everything from Health & Fitness to Transportation to Crime & Safety:

Unearthing a Neighborhood's Cultural Landscape: Check out reviews
These reviews uncover all aspects of an area, giving future residents or visitors an idea about the environment. What’s the food like? What is there to do? Neighbors answer these questions and more by offering advice and descriptions of the neighborhood—an insider’s glimpse of the culture.

The Bottom Line
Ultimately, residents won’t know what the cultural landscape of an area is like until they move there and experience it for themselves. However, there are ways to try to determine a good fit from a bad fit before you sign a deed or lease.