Pitch Where You Live

Peter Korsten peter at severity-one.com
Mon Mar 4 01:33:51 CET 2024

Op 24-2-2024 om 23:12 schreef Niall Munnelly:
> As I look to wrap up my business in rural Ireland this year, I’m 
> training my gaze outward for my next potential home. As a single 
> person, I reckon the best way to do quantifiable good for the 
> environment would be to move to a densely-populated urban area with a 
> robust public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure.

I'm not going to pitch where I live, since it doesn't match at least two 
of your three requirements, and possibly neither the third.

We have population density. In fact, it's the ninth most densely 
populated territory (country or dependency) in the world, and the third 
most densely populated in Europe. Number two is Gibraltar, number one is 

We also have the 11th highest number of motor vehicles per capita (more 
than Australia...), and the combination with the population density is 
not a very good one.

Public transport is free, but consists of buses, which get stuck in the 
same traffic. Cycling infrastructure is slowly coming about, but nowhere 
near Dutch standards. (OK, nothing comes close to Dutch standards.) It's 
still dangerous.

So, does it suck? Not really. The climate is fantastic. Summers can be 
very hot, and neither cycling nor walking would be recommended. 
Especially not for someone with a northern European skin. But having 
mild winters is really nice.

What's great about Malta is that it's essentially a holiday destination, 
so there's plenty of entertainment around. Everything is close by 
(except abroad; that's always an aeroplane trip or perhaps a ferry). 
Taxi app services, which are still relatively cheap, have three 
operators, so plenty of competition. It is by far the most prosperous 
territory in the wider area, except for the hyper-expensive places along 
the French Riviera.

But rather than going to one specific place, consider the weather. You 
don't really realise how much the weather in northern and western Europe 
sucks until you've lived in the south. The Mediterranean is a very 
pleasant region to live. Not the most liveable, not the most affluent 
either, but generally beautiful and pleasant.

> Getting off my high horse, of course I want access to the arts and all 
> the benefits that cities allow. Where shall I look that’s not in the 
> US, Éire or Great Britain? I hope to meet Jay in Vienna this year. 
> Basque Country has great appeal. I want to check out Occitania, 
> absolutely. Brussels seems like a smart idea. What places are 
> walkable, cycling-friendly and punch above their weight, culturally 
> (especially musically) that I should investigate?

When it comes to liveable cities, those that score the highest in terms 
of what makes a city great, you inevitably end up in Austria or 
Switzerland. Especially the latter, though, is not exactly cheap.

I'm wondering whether Barcelona would fit the bill. My wife and I are 
going there in three weeks time; I'll let you know. 🙂

- Peter
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