• A couple embraces near a couch surrounded by moving boxes while a beagle sleeps on the floor. Community

    Introducing "Moving Stories" - A new series of features from Livability

    By Matt Carmichael on August 27, 2015 at 3:46 am CDT

    Why we relocate is always a personal story impacted by age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, family and other factors.

  • Why I'm done with Why I'm leaving Posts Housing

    Why I'm done with "Why I'm Leaving" posts

    By Matt Carmichael on August 19, 2015 at 6:53 am CDT

    It’s hip to be leaving these days. But it’s especially hip to be broken up about it and then share that heartbreak with the world. I first started to notice the “why I’m leaving” posts with this one that was shared by several of my friends earlier this year. The writer posts that after a long winter and after seeing many other friends leave, she’s considering moving out of Chicago. She did a detailed survey of her friends who were leaving and created a great, opinionated and data-filled post.*

    But then I started to see other posts along this – I hesitate to use the word ‘meme’ – theme. There was the post from a woman sad to leave the South. “I've come to the painful decision that in order to preserve my life, I must leave the land that I love.” Or a guy who was moving west from Indianapolis to find a city more in line with his political leanings: “It's at once exhausting and exhilarating, to be from Indianapolis,” he wrote. Or the guy moving a business to St. Louis from San Francisco. There's even a Tumblr about "Things I won't miss about Portland."

    What struck me is that everyone was upset to be leaving, but more upset at the idea of staying for whatever reason. Many hadn’t figured out where they were going next but just knew that they had to get out.

    That strikes me as sad, if not unique. With all but a few examples moving should be exciting in a good way. Like travel, it should be about the destination, not about where you left. Sure, it’s OK to feel a little bittersweet – after all, you’ve called your current home “home.” There’s often an inevitable attachment to your current place. But moving should open possibilities. Moving should be about bigger and better, or maybe smaller and more manageable. Moving should be about be about the future.

    I’d like to see more posts about “Why I’m coming to ____” I’d like to see more people explaining why they’re eager to be joining a community instead of listing a litany of reasons why they’re over their current one.

    How did you come to pick your new place? What makes you think it’s going to be better or at least different?

    Clearly, these are issues we care about here at Livability. Through our data-driven city pages, our monthly lists and rankings, and our daily stories we try to give you all the ammunition you need to make that relocation choice and be thrilled about it.

    Let us know how you found your place. We’ll happily help you shout it from the rooftops. And stay tuned for a new series of stories debuting later this month. Livability is moving in new directions, too and you’d better believe we’re looking forward to telling you all about it.

    * By the way, she didn’t leave Chicago.


  • Transportation

    Three books that will ruin your life

    By Matt Carmichael on July 21, 2015 at 7:45 am CDT

    Reading these books will frustrate you to no end. But that's exactly why they need reading.

Blog Contributors

  • Matt Carmichael is the editor of Livability.com. He's a seasoned journalist who specializes in population trends and urban issues. Previously he was with Crain Communications where he served in a number of roles including the Senior director of research and data at Crain’s Chicago Business and Director of data strategy at Advertising Age. His work on Ad Age's American Consumer Project was the basis for his first book, Buyographics, published by Ad Age/Palgrave Macmillian. He has been awarded top honors in journalism competitions for content, design and innovative uses of technology. His research has been cited by global media outlets including the Wall Street Journal and the Atlantic. He is a Gen-X, white, non-Hispanic, Midwestern male who heads a household of five in a dense, walkable suburb of Chicago.

  • Mitchell Kline, city editor for Livability.com, curates and produces content for the website, including stories, photos and videos. He also writes the Livability.com Top 10 lists. Prior to joining JCI, he worked as a community journalist for 13 years in Middle Tennessee, covering local politics, crime and development. He was part of a team at The Tennessean newspaper which was announced as a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of a crippling flood in May, 2010. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he played rugby and worked with a team of student filmmakers. Below are some of the recent stories he's written.

  • Lisa Battles, content director for Livability magazines at Journal Communications, works directly with community leaders nationwide to tell their cities' most interesting stories. Her past seven years at JCI builds upon 10 years of previous professional communications experience, which included editorships at two Middle Tennessee community newspapers and public and media relations in national motorsports. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.