Safe Places Report No. 5
You’ve made the decision to move. In my last Safe Places Report, we looked at the factors that helped you come to that decision and then compiled an inventory of your life circumstances that will impact your move.
Now comes the fun part—deciding where to move for a better life.
If you are planning to stay in your present metropolitan area, presumably you are (a) now in a vulnerable inner-city neighborhood and want to move to a safer suburban location, or (b) you are dissatisfied with your present suburban location and want to find a better one.
If either of these describes your present situation, factors such as climate or vulnerability to natural threats probably will not be a major consideration. They will not change that much from one suburb to another, or even from the inner city to a suburb. Your major consideration will be the safety of your new community in terms of crime and social disruptions. In future reports I will show you how to do that research.
One more aspect you may want to take into consideration, however, is the geographical direction of your new home within your metropolitan area—just in case things get worse in the future and you have to make another move further away. North, south, east, west—the direction in which you live today helps to determine where you can easily flee to tomorrow. And that can be very important to your safety, and to the choices available to you tomorrow. So even if you plan to stay within your current metropolitan area for the time being, you would be wise to consider a direction, at least, that allows easy access to your most desirable future Safe Place or Safe Retreat.
If you presently live in the San Francisco Metro Area, for example, and plan to stay there for the time being, which direction is most appealing to you in case of a future emergency? North beyond the Napa Valley to the Mendocino coast or redwoods country, south toward Big Sur or the Central Valley, or east toward the Sierra Nevada? Your answer to that question might help you determine whether to choose a safer suburb that is south, east, or north of San Francisco proper. You have choices in all those directions.
Similarly, of you presently live in New York City, you have safer suburbs in all directions, but you may want to take into consideration whether—in a future emergency—you would want to head south in New Jersey (the Pine Barrens?), west to Pennsylvania (the Poconos?), north (the Catskills or the Hudson River Valley?), or east (the far eastern tip of Long Island?).
You can figure this out for your present metropolitan area. You’ve probably already made explorations in all directions for weekend excursions, family vacations, or to see friends or family.
Moving Out of Your Present Metropolitan Area
Now we will consider some of the factors that come into play if you’ve decided to move out of your metropolitan area to a more remote Safe Place or Safe Retreat.
Geographical regions: The United States is a vast country geographically, with a wide variety of regions, each with its own character. We are so fortunate in this—we can move to what feels like a new country, but without changing citizenship. In Europe a mere 100 miles can mean a change in nationality and culture.
With the right life circumstances, you can make such a move to a “new country” within the United States today. I have lived in the Southwest, the Mid-Atlantic region, the Northeast, New England, and the Midwest. But I know that the West—from the Black Hills to the Sierra Nevada, from Montana to the Texas Hill Country—speaks to me emotionally, given my individualist persona and libertarian politics. Do you have a similar emotional attachment to a particular region? If so, the perfect time to act on it can be when you search for your Safe Place or Safe Retreat.
Politics: I detest the politicization of everything in life, but we do live in an age of extreme polarization. Given that fact of life, you may want to consider an area that respects your Second Amendment rights, for example, or an area that reflects your religious and social values.
Environment: Do you feel a need to live on or close to an ocean, or perhaps a large inland substitute such as one of the Great Lakes? Or do you prefer the mountains—either the more gentle variety (the Appalachians or Ozarks, for example) or the giant peaks of the Rockies? (Of course, you can combine the ocean and mountains in some locations.) Tropical foliage and wetlands? Vast prairies? Rolling hills? Island escapes? Arctic tundra? America the beautiful has all of these, and the choice is yours.
And let’s not forget the color factor. If you prefer lush greenery, your choices range from the dense forests of the Northeast to the swamplands of the coastal South or the rainforests of the Northwest and Hawaii. Others are just as attracted to the yellow-brown-red panoply of the Southwest. Once again, you can choose a location that gives you easy access to several conflicting topographies, perhaps green mountains in one direction and high desert in another. And if you live for the change of colors in the Autumn, you have a choice between the fall brilliance of New England, the aspens in the Rockies, or hybrid palettes throughout the country.
Climate: This is closely related to the environmental factors mentioned above, of course. But now we are looking at your tolerance for cold weather or hot weather. Humidity or aridity. How much rain or snow? Low or high altitude? Four seasons, or an endless summer (for sailing enthusiasts) or endless winter (for ski addicts)? Perhaps the length of the growing season is important to you.
In future Safe Places Reports, I will show you in detail what information to look for, and how to find it. You will want to start by compiling these weather statistics for your present home location, so you can then compare them with your prospective new location.
Natural threats to your safety: Nature can be wonderful, but it can also be as much of a threat to your safety as your
fellow man. In evaluating a location, I always look at potential natural threats to your safety as well as the more common ones coming from your fellow humans. I will show you how to judge the potential for natural threats in your prospective new home. And, once you’ve decided on a location, how to protect yourself and your property from any potential natural threats in your new locality.
Among the natural threats I take into consideration: earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and tropical storms, coastal or river flooding and flash floods, volcanoes, wildfires, windstorms, and tornadoes. I’m sure we’ll come up with other goodies to add to the list.
So many factors to consider! But it will be worth the hunt to come up with the perfect location—well, at least as close to perfect as possible. The fun starts with the hunt.
My Previous Safe Places Reports:
- Big Cities Will Never Be the Same After These Riots and This Pandemic June 3, 2020 (No. 1)
- Making the Big Move: Better Sooner than Too Late June 9, 2020 (No. 2)
- Is Seattle the Future for American Cities? June 16, 2020 (No. 3)
- The Factors that Will Shape Your Move to a Safe Place June 25, 2020 (No. 4)