I sort of agree with Vanessa I think. Suburban is best.... I think.
To be fair, I've always lived in St. Louis County Suburbia. I was raised in the Western half of the County which was surrounded by trees and fields but was still only a 30 minute drive from the Stadium and the Arch. I was given free reign to run and play in these fields and woods as a kid and I value that very much. But at the same time we also had neighbors who we would have parties with (or at least my parents would) and which provided a solid pool of friends for myself as a child. Having close neighbors can be a benefit in some sense. We would shovel each others driveways and rake each others lawns and the various kids would play together all day in the nearby fields and woods.
We were far enough away from the City so as not to become degenerate swamp-communists or be corrupted by gangs, but we were close enough to it to still be able to only have to drive 5 minutes to get to a grocery store and only 30 minutes to be able to go to the Cardinals game or the Zoo. Granted, we couldn't go outside and shoot guns because of too many houses around us and in my teens fireworks became prohibited. Plus, I had no experience of farm life or raising crops or animals (other than a cat) so I feel like that was a bit of a blank spot. It was easier for me to appreciate the plight of the urban man than that of the rural man in my youth. It wasn't until later that I began to take the opposite view of life.
Now I live with my wife on a postage stamp on the more Eastern side of the County (nearer to the City). It's an old and small property but it is a very heavily landscaped and well thought-out property. The house is great and the neighborhood is great. I live in almost the dead geographic and population center of the St. Louis Region (The Arch is actually on the EXTREME east edge of St. Louis overlooking the river, the 'center of it all' is actually much further inland to the West where I live, in Brentwood.)
I can walk to a Walgreens and a Starbucks and a Dry Cleaner and a Bank and an Urgent Care and a Grocery Store all within the span of 5-8 minutes. No car needed. I am a 2 minute drive from the central Interstate Hub (64 and 170) of about 4 million people which means I can be anywhere of relevance in about 15-20 minutes max. I also live in the commercial center of all of St. Louis. Every single major store you can think of is about 5 minutes from me.
The down side is traffic. The downside is noise. The downside is light pollution (you will never see a star from my backyard). The downside is heroin junkies hanging out by my local gas station begging for change as you exit the store. The downside is not black people per-se, as we have many respectable ones, but it is the 'black culture' bullshit. The downside is seeing highschool kids by the dozens (white and black) walking around with their pants sagging just above their knees and jaywalking in the middle of the street at a casual stroll in the middle of rush hour. The downside is having a lot of SJW neighbors. The downside is that we have Communist flags flying here and there and plastered on various bumper stickers.
The upside is that I can go to the grocery store with my earbuds in and an audio book playing and nobody knows me. Nobody knows that I made a mistake that one time. Nobody knows my history or seems poised to judge me for it.
To answer Quaid's original question: If I had my way, I would be living like
. But if my wife had her way, we would be living in a 30th story tiny loft directly overlooking the Arch. Where we live now is a compromise. I suspect for the remainder of our lives I will be pulling her out further from the city and she will be pulling me in closer to it and we will have to find some happy medium. Probably suburbia.