May 7, 2018
Choosing where to live is an important decision. It affects so much of our lives. For people who love their town, there are often critical factors that make them stay. For some it’s the open space or parks, for others it’s the good school system. For most, there are a number of things that make for a high quality of life in their town.
In the development of the Norwalk citywide 10-year plan, residents were surveyed and took part in discussions and workshops. A number of things came to light that endeared Norwalk to its residents that are common with what people tend to look for in other towns and cities.
Safety first is the rule and understandably one of the most important aspects that people want in the place they live and play. The overall Norwalk, CT crime rate is 5% lower than the Connecticut average, and is 32% lower than the national average.
Access To Good Jobs
People like to work close to where they live and having good jobs keeps people in their town. Norwalk has a mixed workforce of both white- and blue-collar jobs. The kinds of businesses in Norwalk range from Fortune 500 companies, to retail and service businesses, to small family-owned businesses. Overall, Norwalk is a city of sales and office workers, professionals, and service providers.
Open Spaces And Public Places
Places to gather and recreate are important to staying healthy and connected to others.
Norwalk’s coastal waterfront, beaches, and parks such as Calf Pasture Beach, Veteran’s Park and Cranbury Park are big draws for the city. Nearly half of the Norwalkers surveyed for the citywide planning picked Norwalk’s parks, coastline and beaches as some of the city’s best assets.
Music, art, dance, theater – these are all prized by residents of a town. But we’re not talking simply about art museums and galleries with world famous artists; smaller opportunities driven by local artists are also important. There are a number of galleries in Norwalk, including Galerie Sono, the Maritime Garage Gallery, and the Rowayton Arts Center. The annual SoNo Arts Festival draws area artists for a full day filled with art, live music, food vendors and even a Puppet Parade. For live theater, the historic Wall Street Theater offers a rich variety of music, dance, comedy and drama. There’s also plenty of live music in the many nightspots in the urban areas of South Norwalk and Wall Street. If classical music is your thing, the city has its very own orchestra, The Norwalk Symphony Orchestra.
If you’re not satisfied with all that Norwalk has to offer, the city has easy access to many other towns such as Stamford, Ridgefield, Fairfield, and of course, The Big Apple, New York City.
Connection And Mobility
Getting there from here is key to many in determining where they want to live. Access to major highways and high-quality public transportation at a fair cost are two vital factors for choosing a place to live. Being directly on the I-95 corridor and the Merritt Parkway, as well as the Metro-North New Haven Line gives Norwalk a great advantage in this area.
Alternate Modes Of Transportation
People like to be able to get out of their cars and get to places in their towns or cities without having to drive. Having walkable and bikeable streets that are safe and easy to maneuver are important. Participants that weighed in on the visioning for the Norwalk citywide plan also cited this as important. In fact, 51% of participants said they could walk to a store, restaurant, service, school, park, or other city destination they like from their home. The majority of participants also said they feel safe biking in Norwalk but also felt there should be more bike lanes and public transportation options.
Evidently, foodies rule when it comes to picking a place to live. Having a number of quality restaurants with diverse cuisines keeps people happy. Norwalk’s culinary scene continues to thrive with a dynamic selection of restaurants available from sushi to South American, farm-to-table to falafel, and everything in between.
Well-Maintained Roads, Bridges And Infrastructure
No one wants to dodge potholes getting to and fro in town, or worry about which bridge to take to get across town safely. When roads, bridges and other public infrastructure aren’t maintained, it puts a drain on the economic development of a town as well as your wellbeing.
A good education is essential to ready children for a successful future, so the importance of good schools is crucial. While this is obviously more important to families with school-age children, to attract families, a town needs to have quality local public schools that prepare children for college and/or work. Norwalk has 22 primary and secondary schools, as well as arguably the states best community college. The vast majority of Norwalkers who participated in the citywide surveys said that one of the key issues that Norwalk should be focusing on is providing a high quality public education.
Libraries are some of a city’s best resources. The libraries of today are more than just housing for books. They serve as public gathering spaces, resources to get help with any number of questions and places offering learning and cultural programs. Norwalk has four libraries in various parts of the city for residents to take advantage of, the main library on Belden Avenue, the South Norwalk Branch Library, East Norwalk Library and Rowayton Library.
For a city or town to be attractive to people it needs the basics – safe neighborhoods, good roads bridges, access to major highways and public transportation. But people are also looking for “quality of life” factors such as public open space, good restaurants, culture and libraries. Norwalk has many of these, making it a great place to live, work and play.
 Source: The Norwalk, CT crime data is derived from the FBI’s uniform crime reports for the year of 2016.