There’s Really No Suburb-vs.-Urban Debate

Just pick a place to live that works for you

bcIf the Native were forced to move to a suburb, which one would he choose?

Funny you should ask. I just spent an entire day suburb-slumming last weekend. I gassed up the car, filled my REI bottle with cool water, and took the long trek to a bagel shop at the ambitiously named Summerlin intersection of Trailwood Drive and Village Center Circle—believe it or not, my old ‘hood. Readers know that I venture to all corners of the Valley (drawn mostly by restaurants), but I haven’t hung out in that spot since I returned to the city center more than a decade ago. I was eager to combine my need of a bagel with my desire to see what it was like to live like a suburbanite again.

Here’s what I found: a plethora of yoga pants. Lots of Mercedes SUVs. Kids chasing pigeons. Cyclists watching over carbon-fiber road bikes. And lots of people chatting, sipping coffee and enjoying the morning. Socially, it wasn’t all that different to the equivalent bagel and coffee joints at Rancho Drive and Charleston Boulevard.

What was different was the overall “clean and green” feel of the shopping center. The sidewalks outside the stores were wide and clean, the landscaping inviting and well-kept. That’s likely a result of the multiple levels of neighborhood associations present in the master-planned community. My Summerlin home had three: a neighborhood association, a “village” association and a Special Improvement District assessment.

Those living in the city’s urban center are typically neither burdened with those fees nor afforded the luxury of living in such a highly maintained environment. Then again, we don’t have to worry about neighbors snitching to the association about “improper vines growing up the side of the house”—vines that must, of course, “be removed immediately.”

And, even out in the ’burbs, I found numerous vacant storefronts, along with signs warning me to lock my car and hide my valuables. Evidently, the realities of city life are everywhere in Las Vegas. Still, it’s not a matter of choosing a side in the “suburban versus urban” debate. It’s not really a debate at all: Just find a place that feels right.

Which leads me to the answer to your question. Which suburb would I choose? Boulder City!

Next Week: The White Castle mystery—the final chapter?