Making Your Home in the City

Moving to a home in a major city when you’re used to living out in the country can be more of a culture shock than going to live in another country. Here are some of the things you’ll have to get used to and some tips:

Perhaps one of the most noticeable differences will be the quality of air. The quality of the air in major cities is usually much worse than it is out in the country. At home you will learn to be careful about opening your windows, even if you live high up in a tower block. If you dry your clothes on a balcony, you’ll probably notice the strange odor on your clothes. Often, clothes dried in big city air end up smelling like car exhaust fumes. Many people get around the problem by using a dryer, but that’s often very environmentally unfriendly and sets them back a pretty penny in energy bills, too. You can install air filters or get yourself an air purifier from One of the best ideas to improve the quality of air at home is to get a few plants, especially something like a snakeplant which will release a lot of oxygen into your home.

On a side note, the air quality at street level is usually poor, too. If you cycle or walk to work, you might want to get hold of a face mask. In some large cities it’s not uncommon to put on a clean, white face mask at the start of the day, only to take it off and find that it has turned deep yellow or even black around the area of the mouth. Try to walk through parks and away from major roads in order to reduce the amount of pollution you’re subjected to.

The chances are that, living in a big city, you’re not going to have as much space as you did in the country. If you miss being able to run around and do your thing outside, you might not be satisfied with a poky balcony. But that’s what major parks are for after all – every large city has a number of large parks – Central Park in Manhattan, Hyde Park in London, Piedmont Park in Atlanta are all there for the benefit of their citizens, to bring a part of nature into the heart of the urban sprawl.

If you enjoy growing your own vegetables or fruit, you don’t have to stop at all, but you will have to be creative with the space you use. Balconies and roof terraces are popular places to put down small vegetable or plant beds. Hanging beds are also popular in city homes, and plenty of people grow things like chilli peppers and fennel on their window sills. If that’s not going to satisfy you, you might be able to apply for an allotment. These vary in popularity and availability depending on which city you are in. In some districts of London, you could be waiting up to 40 years to get an allotment, whereas in cities like Houston and Los Angeles your wait will be much shorter.

You may find that owning and running a car in a major city is a major headache. You’ll almost certainly be better off selling your car, thus knocking the cost of hiring a garage space off your property, losing all the regular expenses such as tax, maintenance, gas, insurance and so on, plus not having to sit for hours in big city traffic only to arrive at your destination and spend another hour waiting for a parking space to become available. Learn to use public transport. Even if you don’t live near a convenient subway stop, you can carry an electric skateboard with you or a collapsible bicycle which you can put under your arm as you enter the station.

Anyone moving from the country to the city is bound to miss being outdoors in a rural environment before too long. You can look at rural areas near you to explore on the weekends when you want to get out of the city. London is only a short train ride from the Cotsworlds; you can reach Mid-Jersey in a couple hours. Even the heart of Tokyo is only a couple of hours from the foot of Mount Fuji.