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This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live
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This is Where You Belong > Fitting in your own town

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SCPL (st_catharines_public_library) | 542 comments Mod
In Chapter One, “The Lost Art of Staying Put,” Melody shares her experience meeting a woman from a small town who absolutely loves her community. Even though Melody can’t imagine living in such a tiny, out-of-the-way place, the woman is clearly perfectly happy where she is. Melody describes this as a perfect “person-environment fit,” which is at the heart of place attachment.

How do you feel your own “person-environment” fit is with your hometown? What about living here suits your needs? What would you change if you could?


Valerie Kane | 17 comments This book is a great pick. My husband and I are just beginning to talk about buying a home and where to live since we currently both commute in opposite directions.

Right now we are in Dunnville but I was in St.Catharines before that for a couple of years and for me, neither is the right fit.

I am drawn to communities that have more of a foodie culture (cafes, bistros, artisan bakeries ...) and are more walker friendly.

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SCPL (st_catharines_public_library) | 542 comments Mod
Hi Valerie! I agree, a walker friendly community is really important to me as well! Also having shops and restaurants close by.

Have you ever been to a place where you thought, "I could really live here?"


Diana (librariandi) | 23 comments I am finding this book very interesting so far. Perhaps I'm living a little vicariously and it's making me think, because I have lived in the same city for my entire life. Is it because I don't know any differently, or is it because my "person-environment" fit is so great? I live in Stoney Creek (Hamilton), work in St. Catharines, and after going to school in Toronto, I know I wouldn't want to live in such a big city. That being said, when I travelled to New York, it felt very different from Toronto--almost to the point that I could imagine living there (if it wasn't so expensive!). New York is a very walkable place, but then, so are many neighbourhoods in Toronto, so I'm still not entirely sure what the difference was.

I like Hamilton because it's a pretty big city that actually has a real small-town feel in some areas, and it's quite centrally located in comparison to other Southern Ontario cities. Downtown, there is a thriving arts and culture scene with some incredible restaurants and shops. Travel to a "suburb" within Hamilton like Dundas and you instantly feel that quaint, small-town charm. My old apartment was minutes by car to highway access, but seconds on foot to multiple trails leading to beautiful waterfalls. The area we purchased a home in is not very walkable at all, but it's a lovely neighbourhood and things are accessible by car...and there is a nature conservation area across the street, so we do walk there! This book is inspiring me to drive down to some of the more walkable areas and make a day of enjoying what those neighbourhoods have to offer.

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SCPL (st_catharines_public_library) | 542 comments Mod
Thanks for the comment Diana! I am always interested to hear perspectives from people who have lived the in the same town their whole lives. I moved a lot when I was younger and did not grow up here, so I always have the feeling of being an "outsider" everywhere I go.

One thing I have found out about myself is that I love to visit big cities but would HATE to live in them. I love Toronto, New York, London and Rome in their own special ways, but I feel way too much like a small fish in a big pond. My preference is definitely for small cities. I feel like you get the best of both worlds, with lots of restaurants/activities, plus easy to get out to the countryside if you need to, and you run into people you know. Big cities are too stressful and the pace of life there is anxiety-producing!

I think the author's point is that we really make the places we live in. It is really all about our perspective. For instance, I always thought I would hate living in a small town, but I worked for a year in a really isolated tiny town and it was the best! But looking back I know it was because I really got involved with the community and joined all kinds of groups and events, as well as walking everywhere.


Diana (librariandi) | 23 comments Thanks Kathryn! It's nice to know I'm not the only one who finds big cities anxiety-inducing! Have a great weekend :)

message 7: by Valerie (last edited Feb 06, 2017 03:13AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Valerie Kane | 17 comments Hi Kathryn,

Yes, I lived in Victoria, BC for many years and loved it. It felt like the perfect size town for me, you could walk anywhere. There was lots of greenery and the ocean is a plus. There are so many artisan shops usually run by the owners which I found made for a great community. However that was a different season in life so I am looking forward to discovering the right place now.

As I continue to read, I agree that her point is you can love anywhere you live if you choose to and I am enjoying the love where you live checklists at the end of each chapter.

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SCPL (st_catharines_public_library) | 542 comments Mod
Hi Valerie,

I have also heard really good things about Victoria! It seems to be a destination for a lot of people in Canada, especially retirees. It has been a long time since I visited, but I remember it being really pretty.


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Judy | 4 comments I initially scoffed at the book title, but I'm finding it very relatable, useful and inspiring. I've written down many ideas to share with my neighbors. I'm hoping they get excited and share ideas as well for our community. Thanks for bringing this book to our attention.

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SCPL (st_catharines_public_library) | 542 comments Mod
That's wonderful, Judy! I hope it spreads to your friends and neighbours as well!


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Beth Postema (bekp) | 1 comments I'm up to Chapter 8, and am liking the book, though I wonder how transferable it really is. I picked it up at the library because after 27 years of living in a city, I can't say that I really like it here. Why am I still here? Four simple words: my husband has tenure.
The city in question is Fargo, ND.
So the whole thing of walking your city--it's an option 4-5 months of the year.
Say hi to your neighbors? The chilliness to newcomers in the Northern Plains is well-documented. Five years ago, Minnesota Public Radio did a series of stories on the phenomenon and its impact on business:
Do something fun? The hammock thing cited for Fargo? Never heard of it and I read the newspaper/consume local news feeds daily.
Commune with nature? Again, exceedingly difficulty for 3 months of the year due to actual life-threatening temperatures. After my husband interviewed here at the end of grad school, when he returned I asked him what the town was like. His response was "In one word, bleak." Fargo is typically dirty grey and white 6 months of the year. Like Duluth, Fargo did win a 64 city bracket online vote, but I'm not sure that there's a whole lot of civic pride in being voted "The Worst Weather City." In terms of the landscape, it is one of the flattest places on earth, so there is neither prospect or shelter.
Buying and eating local isn't difficult. Volunteering and writing checks we already do.
Political participation can be difficult, however. After two decades of living here when attempting to contribute to civic conversations, I more than once get the response, "Well, you're not from here, after all."
I chuckled at the bit about branding cities. The result for Fargo? "North of Normal."
So perhaps Fargo isn't normal. Did anyone else have the response, "yes, but that doesn't seem to work here"?

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SCPL (st_catharines_public_library) | 542 comments Mod
Thanks so much for your comments, Beth. I was really interested to read about your experience in Fargo. You raise some really good points about the feasibility of doing these challenges. They certainly come from a place of privilege. Privilege to be able to get outside most of the year. Privilege to have money to spend on local businesses. Privilege to have the leisure to volunteer. Privilege to even be able to participate in government. All things we take for granted, but not available to so much of the world.

I certainly see where you would feel discouraged about not being able to go outside. I feel similarly about Niagara in the summer. I am from the east coast, and I am not built for this climate. For three or more months of the year, I can't go outside without suffering in the extreme heat. I miss out on a lot of fun activities and outings because of it.

Like you, I moved here because of a family member, and it certainly wouldn't have been my first choice. Sometimes I think we just prefer the kind of place we grew up in, and no matter how long we spend somewhere else, it will never feel "right." To me, "right" is long cold winters and cool, foggy summers. I know people think I'm crazy when I say that, but I honestly just don't care for the climate in Niagara.


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