Neighborhood Pride

Something that has really struck me is the tremendous sense of pride that Seattleites take in their neighborhoods.  It’s a real source of identity for them in ways that Denver simply doesn’t have. 

 

Frankly the Denver-metro area doesn’t really have the concept of neighborhoods.  Yes there’s 5-points and Capital Hill and a few others near downtown, but mostly people talk about their towns, not their neighborhoods.  Englewood, Westminster, Northglen, you can’t even tell them apart.  I’ve never felt a sense of identity from those towns.

 

In Seattle it’s broken down at the neighborhood level – Ballard, Magnolia, Queen Anne, West Seattle, Capital Hill, First Hill, Phinney Ridge, Green Lake, Madrona, Columbia City, Beacon Hill – These are all neighborhoods that I’ve learned about in my first few weeks in town (to say nothing of the dozens of surrounding communities I can name).  And everytime people talk to me about where they live they litterly begin lobbying me to live where they live.   And in group settings the conversations take on a competitive edge!  Here’s a typical exchange that I’ve had over and over again in the last 2 weeks: 

 

  • (unknown)Ballard-Fan: Where are you looking to live?
  • Me: We’re really liking the feel of West Seattle.
  • Ballard-Fan:  WHAT?!  Why would you live there?!  You should come look at Ballard!
  • Me: Yeah, I’ve driven through there it’s really nice looking.
  • Ballard-Fan:  Serioulsy, we’ve got the locks, these great Scandanvian restaurants, fantastic old houses, and it’s sooo funky!
  • BeaconHill-Fan joins the conversation: Yeah, but really you should check out Beacon Hill, the commute is SO much easier and the access to the highway rocks!  Plus we’ve got the light rail connection coming this year.
  • GreenLake-Fan gets up and walks over:  I’m in Green Lake, you can not beat the lake area, with beaches and buskers and families all around.  The festivals are fantastic. People run and bike along the lake, we’ve got the zoo, we’re near the university…

 

It’s wild!  

 

Leaving Old-town Longmont is hard but no matter which neighborhood we choose I know I’m going to find a strong sense of community and that’s important to me.  And by the way, the West Seattle crowd might be the most devoted of them all!

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~ by brianherman on May 18, 2009.

3 Responses to “Neighborhood Pride”

  1. Hey! Come live here!

    Actually my co-publisher/husband is a native Coloradan. But I’m a native Californian and we picked WS more because it reminded us of San Diego, where we lived most recently.

    The boom in professional online neighborhood news (at which we are proud to be among those at the forefront) is partly to thank for the enhancement of a visible and readable sense of neighborhood pride, although heaven knows neighborhood pride was here, in a big way, long before any of us opened our sites 🙂

    If you do decide to come here, and have any requests for help or recommendations, be sure to post in our forums
    http://westseattleblog.com/blog/forum
    where many helpful folks can offer advice and experience.
    –Tracy at West Seattle Blog

  2. The guy was right about Beacon Hill. 😉 And it’s way more affordable.

  3. Last week I got an earful from some friends back in Colorado about this post. They pointed out that Denver has plenty of neighborhoods and proceeded to name the same 4 I could come up with (5-Points, Wash Park, Capital Hill, Cherry Creek), then mentioned a few more I’d never heard of or never considered as neighborhoods (Highlands, Highlands Ranch (not the same thing) and Stapleton). I’ll grant you Stapleton but don’t even try to pretend that Highlands Ranch is a neighborhood! And as for the others… I’ve never heard someone say “you should come live in my neighborhood” with the fervor that these Seattle folks bring.

    I offer into evidence the following sites:

    Denver Neighborhoods: http://www.denver.com/neighborhoods/
    (note that a majority of them aren’t neighborhoods at all, but towns and cities, some over 90 minutes away).
    Denver Neighborhood map: http://www.denver.org/metro/neighborhoods
    Denver Neighborhood blogs: um, uh, well, google doesn’t find much: http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en-us&q=denver+neighborhood+blogs&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

    Now…

    Seattle Neighborhood blogs: http://www.neighborlogs.com/2008/12/02/seattles-29-neighborhood-blogs
    Seattle Neighborhood map: http://www.seattlerentals.com/719.html

    I rest my case.

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