The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly - your town

This has probably been done to death, but I’m starting to forget things, so it will all be new to me. Most towns/cities have great or at least good things about them, some bad or awful things about them, and at least one ugly wart. How’s yours? Need to move? Mine starts below:

Anchorage, Alaska


Scenery: we live surrounded by mountains, our yards are full of birch, cottonwood and spruce trees.
Urban wildlife: moose wander our yards and roads, fox abound, some bears
Outdoor activity: summer or winter, the hiking, boating, snowmachining, skiing, skating, 4-wheeling, sight-seeing, photography can’t be beat. Yes, I’m talking about right here in my city
Micro-breweries: Some of the best beer brewed in the US is made right here. Award-winning, hoppy and yummy.


Street clearing: this used to be in the ‘ugly’ category until the present mayor took office. Used to be you stood on top of a snow berm waiting for the occasional bus to come by, then slid down to get it, hoping you didn’t end up under the wheels. Now the major arterials are cleared quickly and even the sidewalks are cleaned in a reasonable amount of time.
City of Lights: Every year, people put strands of tiny white lights on nearly any available surface. These stay up until the last musher crosses the Iditarod finish line in Nome. Makes the city a much brighter place in the long winter months.
Iditarod and Fur Rendezvous: Thousands of hysterically enthusiastic dogs giving it all they’ve got. People walking around with beavers and wolves on their heads. A winter carnival period that says “spring will come”.
Coffee shops: Just read in today’s paper that Anchorage has more coffee outlets per capita than anywhere else in the country - including Seattle.


Sprawl: Planning and zoning were never Anchorage’s forte, but since the advent of Big Oil, these have become just two unrelated words ending in -ing. The midtown sprawl is an ugly jumble of large office buildings, car dealerships, homes, burger joints, hardware outlets, furniture stores, trailer parks and hotels. Sidewalks are nearly non-existent, so the city is addicted to its cars.
Bus service: Abysmal. No new routes in six years. No relief for the sprawl or for the lack of parking downtown.
Republicans: We’re overrun with the bastards. No tax base, no hope of one. Roads, roads and more roads. Pave it all over and drive til you drop. Bitch about the government when it provides a huge percentage of the jobs here.
Class restaurants: Very few, and generally inconsistent in food prep. Lots of chain restaurants that serve huge portions of bad food abound.

I’m sure there’s more, but that will do for now. Let’s hear it!

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

  • Good - tropical climate, vegetation, most modern amenities, generally nice, helpful, friendly people.*

  • Bad - no Indian restaurants.

  • Ugly - traffic, atrocious driving etiquette, opulence vs squalor.

*Except for when behind the wheel of a vehicle

Des Moines, Iowa
Good - City is gorgeous, people are friendly, economy is stable, leading to a big increase in arts & culture over the past 5 years.
Bad - No Trader Joes, hours from any other major urban center (Minneapolis, KC, Chicago)
Ugly - Unchecked sprawl creating traffic problems, made worse by being at the crossroads of I-35 and I-80 with all it’s cross-continental truck traffic. Not LA bad by any means but very noticably worse in the past 3 years.

Auckland, NZ

Good (if not great): Our harbours, regional scenery close by, the weather (mainly), places where it’s still a quiet place to live, but still within easy reach of the CBD.

Bad: Rising crime, graffiti, street gangs, public transport at times, prices, land prices, the fact that this year’s a local election year for the councils … :rolleyes:

Ugly: Transport snarl-ups, the “build more roads” lobby, pollution, urban sprawl, people’s attitudes to others who are different in race or other categories.

I still love the ol’ girl, tho’. :slight_smile:

Tucson, Arizona
The good: Beautiful scenery- it’s a desert, yes, but it’s a living desert, with lots of green, and the city is surrounded by mountain ranges. Hiking, camping, and skiing are just a short drive away. Sunsets are spectacular. The weather from October to May is awesome- I went to work the other morning without even a jacket on. It can get cold, but that usually only lasts a few days at a time. Even though we’ve reached a population of 1 million, Tucson still has a small-town feel to it, and you’re constantly running into people you know, or meeting people who know people that you know. The people are mostly friendly, and there’s a lot of volunteerism and people helping people here. Sports are good, if you’re into that. Phoenix with all it’s big-city excitement is only a 2-hour drive. A lot of great restaurants here, from taco stands on the sidewalk to 4-star dining. The border of Mexico is only an hour away, making travel for cheap prescriptions and cheap dentistry very easy.

The bad: Sprawl. Ugh. Tons of cookie-cutter developments where the houses all look the same and are 2 feet away from each other. Housing prices going up, up, up, even after the housing boom has burst. No freeway going through town, and none planned, so a lot of driving is on surface streets, which in the winter can become very congested. Water scarcity, to the point where we’re getting ready to start drinking water recycled from our toilets. Yum. Crime- I’ve never personally been hit in my 11 years here, but property crime is pretty high, mostly due to our proximity to the border, I believe. Abject poverty in some areas. Californians moving in, bringing with them their habits of rudeness, bad driving, and superficiality.

The ugly: See: abject poverty- barrios, children without even shoes to wear to school, a high number of illegal immigrants, drug addiction, etc. Summer heat- not as bad as Phoenix, but can get to 110, and the sun is only 12 feet away. I don’t know how people work outside in the summer here- they’d be carrying away my dead carcass after 45 minutes.

Ann Arbor, MI

The Good: Tolerant cops (important to a college student whose house likes to throw parties), beautiful campus, plenty of good restaurants, and quite a lot of culture considering the size of the city

The Bad: Major parking problems, which the city doesn’t hesitate to exploit, consistently poor snow plow service

The Ugly: The lone orange brick building right next to the Union is just hideous, and the construction situation on campus resembles a game of whack-a-mole.

This reminds me of my days playing Sim City.

Location: Ann Arbor, MI

The Good: Much.
–Wonderful, high-quality dining options.
–Jazz clubs.
–Excellent concerts and theatre
–The Nichols Arboretum for your biking, hiking and nature needs
–The Matthai Botanical Gardens for hella-cool exotic plants
–More culture forums than you can shake a stick at. Lecture on the state of affairs in Lebanon? Check. Round-table discussion for feminists in science? Check. An evening with Noam Chomsky? You got it. If you want to learn about stuff–random stuff, political stuff, historical stuff, any stuff – University of Michigan is the place to be.

The Bad:
–Parking is atrocious. They keep zoning off more and more streets as ‘‘No-Parking’’ zones, and their motivation for doing so (money from the tickets it will incur) is ridiculously transparent.
–Housing expenses are outrageous. I rented a 6-bedroom house for $3,000 a month + utilities plus an extra hundred per month per person for heating.
–General expenses. Everything’s expensive here. If you want a $4 smoothie or a $300 purse, you can find it here.

The Ugly:
–Snobbery. Oohhh, the snobbery.
–Hypocrisy. Related to the above. Ann Arborites will fight to the death to push money into welfare for the poor or rally on the street corner to fight global warming, but they cross the street to avoid actual poor people and drive big-ass gas-guzzling SUVs.
–Segregation. I’ve never seen a place so segregated that claims to be so multicultural.
–Students (a subset of ‘‘snobbery’’–and I say that as a student myself.) Students who think everything and everyone has a price and they can afford it. Students who have every opportunity right in front of their nose but bitch and moan about having to attend classes. Students who pretend they support (fill in the blank) in the interest of it looking good on their grad school applications, but in reality could possibly not care less about the issues they claim to champion. Students who think, ‘‘Coke once again allowed on campus’’ is a legitimate political issue. Students who form well-intentioned organizations (like against violence against women, for example) and then spend the whole of their meetings talking about how violence against women is bad and how they should pass out buttons that say so, but who never actually do anything remotely useful. Students yapping on their cellphones in the middle of 500-person lecture halls. Ohhhh, the students. :rolleyes:


Good: It’s not far from Saratoga and Albany. Mt. Pleasant Bakery Rye Bread (best in the world). Lots of great pizza. Proctor’s Theater, an old time movie palace (opened 1926) that has been renovated and has some great touring companies and cheap second-run films. Schenectady Civic Players – good community theater.
Saratoga has the racetrack, the Performing Arts Center (NYC Ballet and Philadelphia Orchestra, plus rock acts every summer), good restaurants, and the most amazing used bookstore in the world.

Bad: Not much of a night life, and few ethnic restaurants or classy dining (but it’s not far from Saratoga and Albany).

Ugly: Much of the city is pretty run down (though it is making a comeback).

A lot of surprises here. Things you wouldn’t associate with some of these towns are pleasant to find out.

Another good here is the Performing Arts Center and the Anchorage Symphony, which is surprisingly excellent. The bad with this is the problem they have attracting big name acts, and the jazz program is in its infancy. They brought Bradford Marsalis up this year, which was a waste for us, as neither of us can stand him.


The Good:

The food: I love Tex-Mex food and Dallas does it well. Dallas is also one of the best restaurant cities in the United States. I’ll say that Dallas is one of the top 5 restaurant cities in the United States.

The Dallas Symphony isn’t quite a world class orchestra. However, they are in the second class and they are well worth hearing.

The weather. There are a lot of day like today. Warm and clear with blue skies.

The Bad.

Sprawl. Like most Sun Belt cities, Dallas sprawls.

Summers are hot.

Traffic. Like most sprawl cities, traffic in Dallas isn’t good.

The Ugly.

Politics. Ugh, I’m sick of the black vs Latino battles here. I’m sick of the corruption in the City of Dallas as well as the mess which is the Dallas Independent School District. I’m also sick of the Religious Right and the clown named Rick Perry.

Football. I love football as a sport. The mess over the Cowboys, Terrell Owens, the Cotton Bowl as well as the newest high school phenom makes me ill.

Houston, Texas

The Good: Museum District, restaurants, shopping, and sports venues, 2 out of 3 of which hold good teams. Also, we’ve got a great mayor who’s attacks The Bad and The Ugly with more than lip service.

The Bad: Flat, hot and mosquitoey and besides Galveston there’s no close place to recreate. Traffic can be bad and often keeps us from enjoying those good museums and restaurants.

The Ugly: Crime. Gangs are a problem, from kids all the way up to MS 13 plus a small but very visible portion of Katrina refugees have caused an unacceptable spike in murder, rape, violent crime in general.

Macedonia, Ohio

GOOD: 15-20 minutes away from everything in Northeast Ohio. We’re right smack dab between Cleveland and Akron, on two major highways and right next to the turnpike. We’re also far enough away from Akron that not everyone speaks with a WV accent.

We’ve got a surprising number of 24-hour joints in our tiny town. More pizza places than anywhere else I know. Both a Wal Mart AND a Target, Home Depot AND Lowes. And a really nice new Cinemark.

BAD: This used to be the out-of-the-way 'burb that everyone left the city for. Now we’re inundated with both retail and housing. I like it, personally (lots of resources nearby) but the traffic situation isn’t always favorable.

UGLY: I think there’s a bit of a class war brewing. All of the new homes are $250k-350k+ while there’s still a lot of neighborhoods with houses under $100k. Choice is good but the people who live in neighborhoods like mine seem to be getting a little antsy about all these “high-falutin’” folks moving in.

Urban sprawl seems to qualify as the “Ugly” part everywhere, doesn’t it?

The Good: Manchester City FC
The Bad: Manchester Utd FC
The Ugly: Manchester Utd FC.

Right seriously now.


However for sheer fuglyness the town of Rochdale, about 25 miles away, takes the biscuit.

If the world had haemmorhoids this is where they’d be, slap bang in the middle of the Town Square

I live in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

The Good: It’s a semi-rural, not very suburban town that has a liberal-arts college, a law school, and an Army post. Consequently, there is a thriving arts and education scene that a college town can offer. The borough itself is fairly livable; it’s got a large supermarket (in fact, the chain’s owner is located here, as well), a Wal-Mart, a Target and many smaller businesses, some of which are locally owned. It’s also convenient to Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Washington, and from there, to any major city along the Eastern Seaboard. Finally, its closeness to the rural, agricultural areas makes it easy to buy fresh food, as in it was still in the ground the day before, if not that day.

The Bad: Not terribly many locally-owned businesses. Also, while there are large companies based here in town, many of the jobs available are in the trucking and logistics industries, so there are jobs available for truckers and warehouse workers, but not so many in other areas of those industries, or in any other industry, for that matter. Also, many of the new retail businesses that have opened over the past year have been large chain stores like Target and Kohl’s, both of which are very nice, but if I want something special, I often have to buy it online, which makes it hard to keep my money local.

The Ugly: It’s located near the intersection of I-81 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. As a result, there is a ton of truck traffic that causes horrible air quality and congestion in already narrow streets. We’re also the home of the Cars at Carlisle events, and while they’re responsible for a lot of economic benefits like reduced taxes and increased commerce for the local businesses that cater to the shows, participants are notorious for cruising; clogging up the already-narrow streets; and on occasion, rude and destructive behavior, such as speeding, late-night cruising, and damage to hotels. And the area around that intersection is genuinely ugly. If anyone came to Carlisle for the first time through that intersection, they would be less than impressed.


Reno, NV (keeping in mind that I don’t go and never went to UNR, which is a huge part of the culture here, so I can’t comment on anything about that)

Good - Surprising amount of beautiful scenery and green, considering we’re in high desert and all. Drive 45 minutes one direction, you’re in spooky old ghost towns, abandoned mines and majestic rolling hills. Drive 45 minutes the other direction, you’re in Lake Tahoe. Always something to do, any hour of the day or night. Many decent restaurants and good pubs. ArtTown is always fun, and consequently there’s a pretty decent art scene here. And, if it’s your thing, it can be fun to go downtown and throw a couple bucks toward Gamblor’s way. :smiley:

Bad - Every single freakin’ weekend, it seems, is some new festival that fills the streets with gawking out-of-towners and the roads with slow-moving gorgeous old cars that make me nervous to even be around, or leagues of farting motorcycles that can be heard for miles in each direction and keep me up at night. Every weekend downtown is closed off because it’s the Italian festival, or the Celtic festival, or Cinco de Mayo, or the chili cookoff, or…etc.

Ugly - Downtown. Good lord, downtown. It’s an ugly, ugly mess. All but about four the casinos have gone under, and just sit there empty and decaying, or even worse, are turned into condos. There has been constant road construction for about three years now and the roads are in horrible condition, half-closed off, filled with traffic cones and oddly painted lanes that just end suddenly. Here’s some pictures.

Don’t you just love it when the board freezes for six minutes and then won’t let you edit your post? :rolleyes:

Fixed first picture link.

Dubai, UAE:

Good: The Gulf, Diverse population, safe from crime, no taxes

Bad: Soaring rents that make London seem cheap

Ugly: Some of the most dangerous and deadly driving in the world (currently 3rd after Saudi and Oman)

Luton, U.K.

The good: there are lots of ways to get out of Luton. There’s an airport, it’s right by the M1, and there’s an express train to London. My workplaces are here.

The bad: Luton didn’t get voted the No. 1 Crap Town for nothing. It’s a shithole. Dreadful traffic, bad crime, etc.

The ugly: see ‘The bad’.