While I’ve always told people that I am from State College, Pennsylvania, I technically live in a small town just outside of State College called Port Matilda. Port Matilda can be separated into two parts, Residential and Downtown. The residential area (where my house is located) is an Automobile Suburb, while the “downtown” area is more of a Streetcar suburb. The town as a whole has just over 600 people. The town has very little to it outside of a salon inside my neighbor’s home, a small gas station, a pizza place, and one actual restaurant. The nearest grocery store is 25 minutes away, and the schools I attended over the years ranged anywhere from 20-35 minutes away. I have lived in this town for almost my entire life, attending the recreation program at the local community center, and cheerleading for the local youth league founded by my next door neighbor. I have a lot of love for this small town in its simplicity, even if I often wish it was closer to State College.
The first city I have chosen to focus on is Rochester, New York. The neighborhood featured in the picture looks almost identical to my own, and the city as a whole is very similar to my own. Similar to Port Matilda, this particular neighborhood falls outside of the more urban region of Rochester (or in my case State College), and has very little within walking distance. Similar to this neighborhood and its residents, my neighbors and myself must drive to get almost anywhere. I have become accustomed to driving a minimum of 20 minutes to get to most places I need to be. This Rochester suburb, is geared toward activity such as bicycling, walking, running, etc. in the neighborhood without fear of interruption from city traffic leading to safety concern.
The second city I have chosen to discuss is Boston, Massachusetts. Boston, specifically Beacon Hill, is very similar to State college in that it is a pedestrian oriented area. The town is set up strategically to make employment, food, entertainment, and shopping easy accessible through walking. While State College also includes access for cars, those who live downtown do not necessarily need one in order to have their needs met. This is similar to Boston as the appeal of walking and little necessity for travel, makes residents choose to do so. All of the stores and restaurants line two main streets, similar to that of Beacon Hill making everything easy to reach from any given point. There is plenty of access to housing for both students and families to take advantage of, making this an ideal place in which to live.