Choosing a Place to Live

Why it's as important as picking a spouse. A Q&A with Richard Florida.


A backdrop illustrates a construction project in Shanghai.


What factors matter most?

You have to say, "My career means this much to me; my lifestyle means this much to me. I'm married with kids; I have to find schools. I'm young and single, and I need to find partners." You have to balance all that. The book tries to give you a sense of how to do that. Do people realize their happiness is closely linked to place?

Absolutely not. People don't even think about it. But when you ask them you begin to discover their place is a critical contributor to their happiness. Generally speaking, place tends to the positive side of the happiness ledger. That was surprising to us. When we asked people about the source of stress in their life, place came in last. If you find a place that fits you, it gives you more energy. People have always been attracted to aesthetics. The other thing is infrastructure. Maybe you like to go outside, or ride your bike. Those things are critically important. What people are saying is they are not going to be fulfilled in a place that just has a good pipe system. They want to live in a place that gives them excitement and energy.