Searching for a new place to call home is so much more than just looking at apartment buildings and what they have to offer. The neighbourhood where your new rental is located in is just as important. Depending on your needs, your definition of a great neighbourhood can be completely different than that of, say, your parents. However, there are some constants that help to elevate every neighbourhood to truly awesome-status regardless of your unique preferences.
Walkability and nearby amenities and neighborhood shops are a valuable resource when moving in to a new apartment. This means that you’ll want to be able to take a stroll over to a convenience or grocery store, a bus stop or transit hub (if you don’t have a car) and even a local restaurant or bar. For some people, living within walking or biking distance of their place of employment is another huge plus. Good walkability also takes into account some more technical issues that we may not even realize we are looking for. According to Reid Ewing, director of the Metropolitan Research Center at the University of Utah, a walkable neighbourhood should feature short blocks with wide sidewalks, human-scale lighting and benches, tree-lined streets that provide a buffer from traffic and landmarks (such as fountains and gazebos).
Whatever the reason, living a short jaunt away from life’s little conveniences makes for a great neighbourhood, which is why RentSeeker.ca features area amenities in all of our apartment listings, making it easy for you to determine at a glance if your potential home has that “it” factor.
Having access to public transportation in a neighbourhood is a must. Even if you do own a vehicle, it’s important to live in an area where public transportation is considered a priority. With buses and subways come retail shops, restaurants and other community-enhancing establishments that will serve to enrich the neighbourhood you call home. This means that, even if you live in the suburbs, you will still get that “downtown” feel. The option to take public transit from your home will also leave you with more money in your pocket – and give you the freedom to enjoy the shops in your neighbourhood.
When people love where they live, they will want to get involved in their local community. This means that a great neighbourhood will include places that can encourage an area to grow, such as a well-maintained park, a community centre and swimming pools. Establishments that encourage social interaction help to make a neighbourhood stronger and give everyone a sense of ownership over their surroundings. The more services that are available nearby, the more people will flock to a neighbourhood and stay for long periods of time.
The Project for Public Spaces offer even more ingredients of a great neighbourhood on their website:
1. Good places have lots of things to do
The places people love most are the ones where they can pursue a variety of activities. Without opportunities to do something more than sit and look around, the experience you have in that place is “thin” — there is nothing to keep you there for any length of time.
2. Good places are comfortable and attractive
They beckon you to come visit. Flowers, comfortable benches with a nice view, and attractive lighting all make you feel this is a place you want to visit often. In contrast, a place that lacks these kind of amenities often feels unwelcoming and a bit threatening. It may actually be unsafe or just feel unsafe, but either way no one wants to be there.
3. Good places are accessible
These places are clearly identifiable from a distance, easy to enter when you get closer, and it is simple to understand how you use them. A space that is not accessible will be end up empty, forlorn and often dilapidated.
So when choosing your next apartment for rent, think neighborhood – it will be an important factor.
Happy Apartment Hunting!
The RentSeeker Team