Quality is Quality Here

I believe it was Governor Baxter who said “I can’t define quality of life is but I know it when I see it.”

One measure of livability could be a consideration what benefits and amenities does a city or a society offer to the common person which are otherwise available only to the very rich. Free concerts, safe streets, and good public schools are all examples of things that are not available to the vast majority of human beings on the planet. On the other hand, the very rich can afford a good quality of life pretty much anywhere (NB quality of life is not the same as happiness).

Those of us who are concerned with defining quality of life may be looking in terms of what we get for what we spend.

Here is a real-life illustration:
Two new homes homes one in Portland one in Brooklyn. Both are roughly the same size, in (very) roughly equivalent neighborhoods, both with yards. The Portland house has off street parking, two out buildings, as well as usable attic and basement space; it cost about $150,000. The Brooklyn home has no off street parking (are you kidding?) and cost $850,000. Or consider the moving costs. Both the Brooklyn and Portland parties had about the same amount of stuff and moved about the same distance. The cost of the Brooklyn move: $1,100. The Portland move cost about $80. And in the Portland neighborhood the schools are better, the streets are safer, and the concerts are free-er. In other words it costs more to be middle class in Brooklyn than it does in Portland
However, wages are somewhat better in the New York area and the Brooklyn neighborhood is a lot less boring.

So can we put a value on that?

Zack Barowitz

About Zack Barowitz

Zack Barowitz is a writer, artist, and flâneur. He is the radio host of "This Land Is" on WMPG Tuesday nights at 7:30. His work can be seen at ZacharyBarowitz.com.