I'm just thinking out loud today. As an immigrant, I don't have deep roots in any country or particular place. Consequently, while others say that they'd never move out of a particular place because their family has been there for generations, I am more geographically open-minded. I often think about what my ideal place would be, and I've come up with a basic list of its characteristics:
1. 5 mins (by car) near a YMCA.
2. 5 mins (by walk) near a small park with a basketball court.
3. At least two Vietnamese/pho restaurants.
4. A community college or university within 30 mins that has a good speakers series.
5. Little to no natural disaster risk.
6. A diverse age demographic.
7. Little to no air pollution.
8. Low crime rate.
9. Reasonable prices for a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1200 to 1500 sq ft house.
10. Located in a county that voted for President Obama in the 2008 election. I am not a registered Democrat, and I did not vote for President Obama in the national election; however, I prefer to live in a county where a majority of people rejected Sarah Palin's brand of conservatism and the Iraq war.
Additional considerations: a Dave and Buster's nearby would be nice.
It appears that Minneapolis, MN and Milwaukee, WI are two major cities that meet my criteria. Columbia, MO also meets my criteria. Newark, CA might make the list if housing prices deflate. (Some places within Newark, CA appear far enough from the Hayward Fault Line.) Others have suggested Lawrence, KS and Bloomington, IN. There must be a city in Iowa that meets my criteria, but I can't seem to find one that is safe from natural disasters. If you have other suggestions, please post a comment.