The Future Headquarters of Looney Labs

By Andrew Looney

Part 7: Choosing a New City

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] 7 [8]

So again we are faced with the question: Of all the places we could choose, what city would be the best for our new home base? What are our criteria in selecting a new city to live in?

  1. Within the Movie-Length Donut: Having come to the realization that we want to stay closer to DC than Niagara Falls, the issue of distance becomes the most important to consider. Paradoxically, getting away from DC is also a major motivator, so this puts the ideal city somewhere in a donut-shaped area surrounding DC, somewhere at least an hour's drive away but less than 3 hours out. The perfect driving time would be about the length of a movie: Between 90 minutes and 2 hours. This narrows the options considerably but still leaves many open... the Movie-Length Donut rule gives us 6 states with towns to consider: Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey.
  2. Low Disaster Potential: As I said in the first section, I live in fear of possible disasters, so I'm seeking to choose a site that has the best likelihood for enduring the passage of time. Of course, there are some calamities it's impossible to hide from, like tornadoes, fires, lightning bolts, global warming, and the impact of a giant asteroid. Other worries, like volcanoes and earthquakes, are equally unlikely everywhere inside our donut. But there are some potential disasters -- hurricanes, floods, and terrorist attacks -- which we can either expose ourselves to, or shelter ourselves from, as we make this decision. As I said in a similar version of this list of criteria 2 years ago, "coastlines, faultlines, and floodplains are out of the question." But as if I weren't already plenty paranoid, I've learned that it may not be enough just staying away from the actual shore, because of the remote possibility of a Mega-Tsunami. The next time there's an eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano in the Canary Islands, there's a slim chance that a huge chunk of the island will slide into the ocean, causing a catastrophe the likes of which human civilization has never seen. Surviving the Cumbre Vieja Mega-Tsunami could require moving as far west as the Piedmont fall-line, thus knocking out many options on the eastern side of the donut.
  3. Low Cost of Real Estate: As also noted in Part One, our biggest need is space, lots and lots of space. We need a city where real estate is comparatively cheap. The best of all would be if we could find a "Unique Opportunity" somewhere, like if we could find a failed hotel building for sale, or something like that. Maybe there's an office building somewhere in the donut, owned by a company that's gone out of business which we could move into. Maybe there's even a city out there with some big old factory or building complex that's just sitting empty, waiting for some form of new purpose, and we can get the City Council or Chamber of Commerce or some such to subsidize our rent or cut some other deal for us because they see the long term benefits there will be for the community we choose to move into. (Maybe we can find a decommissioned fire house, like in Ghostbusters and the Nines pizza parlor in Ithaca, NY.)
  4. The Right Mix of Nature and Culture: It's an age-old problem: The appeal of city life vs. the call of the wild. We need to balance the desire to be within range of friends, shopping, activities, and conveniences, in addition to woods, rivers, mountains, and waterfalls. We want to live in a city but also see nature, not the neighbors, in our backyard. Having confined ourselves to the donut, we'll be generally close to everything in the lower section of the BosWash Megalopolis, so our city could be fairly small... however, we don't want to live in too isolated an area, either. The ideal choice will be an interesting little city with something cool (like an amusement park, natural wonder, historical landmark, Renaissance festival, casino, museum, chocolate factory, tiki lounge, etc) in the same town. We'd also like to be near a college.
  5. A Hippie-Friendly Community: Where in our donut is the greatest concentration of hippies? Where do counter-culture types gather who can't go as far away as California or Canada or Amsterdam or Vermont? Where within our search zone is there a hip, groovy town with a lot of liberal-minded folks we feel we'd get along with? Or is this too much to hope for?

Anyway, the search is on for the perfect place for us to go. If you've got the answer, please let us know!

[Intro] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] 7 [8]

News Search Gift Shop Games About Us | contact us