This Is Where You Belong

This Is Where You Belong

The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live

Book - 2016
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In the spirit of Gretchen Rubin's megaseller The Happiness Project and Eric Weiner's The Geography of Bliss , a journalist embarks on a project to discover what it takes to love where you live

The average restless American will move 11.7 times in a lifetime. For Melody Warnick, it was move #6, from Austin, Texas, to Blacksburg, Virginia, that threatened to unhinge her. In the lonely aftermath of unpacking, she wondered: Aren't we supposed to put down roots at some point? How does the place we live become the place we want to stay? This time, she had an epiphany. Rather than hold her breath and hope this new town would be her family's perfect fit, she would figure out how to fall in love with it--no matter what.
How we come to feel at home in our towns and cities is what Warnick sets out to discover in This Is Where You Belong . She dives into the body of research around place attachment--the deep sense of connection that binds some of us to our cities and increases our physical and emotional well-being--then travels to towns across America to see it in action. Inspired by a growing movement of placemaking, she examines what its practitioners are doing to create likeable locales. She also speaks with frequent movers and loyal stayers around the country to learn what draws highly mobile Americans to a new city, and what makes us stay. The best ideas she imports to her adopted hometown of Blacksburg for a series of Love Where You Live experiments designed to make her feel more locally connected. Dining with her neighbors. Shopping Small Business Saturday. Marching in the town Christmas parade.
Can these efforts make a halfhearted resident happier? Will Blacksburg be the place she finally stays? What Warnick learns will inspire you to embrace your own community--and perhaps discover that the place where you live right now . . . is home.
Publisher: New York, New York : Viking, [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780525429128
Characteristics: 308 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

Want to love where you live? Join us for a year of challenges based on this book. The challenges will be set every month based on one chapter of the book. We read the chapter, try the challenges, and then post on social media #dearreddeer to share experiences.

Dear Red Deer is a program based on this book. Multiple copies of the book are available as Hot Picks, large print, regular print and digital formats. Borrow a copy and read Chapter Eleven now.


Dear Red Deer is a program based on this book. Multiple copies of the book are available as Hot Picks, and in regular print and digital formats. Borrow a copy and read Chapter Two now.

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Aug 20, 2019

Fun-filled, enjoyable light-hearted adventure regarding just about everything you could ever know about how to move and love where you live. The format is part memoir, part research, part checklist, and mostly easy, breezy reading. I’ve moved so much that this was nothing new, but it’s impressive to see all this useful information (plus the author’s personal experiences) in one place.

Nothing earth-shattering, but moving is traumatic enough and this is a good gift for anyone who is going through the crazy process.

Rebecca_Kohn Jun 27, 2018

Warnick demonstrates the greatest gift we can give to our communities is time. She illustrates how being someone who "shows up" is as important as being an organizer. Warnck lobbies for supporting small businesses, meeting your neighbors, and finding ways to appreciate your surroundings. This is book could be a useful guide to cities that are trying to find or preserve cohesion during this time of incredible social change as people move and commute great distances for work. Warnick provides case studies and examples to illustrate her message and the plethora of ways to build a sense of place she describes should inspire anyone looking to love where they live.

Jun 08, 2017

After move #6, Melanie Warnick began to wonder if it wasn't time to put down roots. She did her research and began a series of "Love Where You Live" experiments in her newest home, Blackburg, Virginia. This book shares her research and creates 10 avenues that range from "Saying Hi to Your Neighbor" to "Eat Local" to "Get More Political" to become attached to where you live. Her initial research began with the Knight Foundation's "Soul of the Community" study which uncovered two bombshells -- #1) the 3 qualities with the strongest correlation to place satisfaction and place attachment were social offerings, aesthetics, and openness and 2) the more emotionally attached residents were to their cities, the better their cities did economically. The Millenial generation has upended the traditional economic development pillars of a low cost of living, good schools, and hefty tax breaks. They're still important but another question has been added to the mix -- How good can you be for real people?

When Oklahoma City lost a Southwest Airlines maintenance hub bid in 1991 because the company couldn't see its employees living there, the city took a hard look at its quality of life and invested tax dollars into an indoor sports arena, a downtown ballpark, a riverside entertainment district, a central park, a white-water kayaking facility, and many miles of new sidewalk and hike-and-bike trails. In 2015, Oklahoma City experienced more inbound population growth than outbound population loss. The opposite effect is happening in Kansas where a focus solely on low taxes has not created the expected economic boom.

This is a very readable approach to the growing movement of placemaking for traditionally restless Americans. As the author learned, it can start with taking plates of banana nut muffins to your neighbors on national Good Neighbor Day. Now she's facing the possibility of leaving Blacksburg and not loving that feeling.

Sep 26, 2016

Warnick has written an interesting book about "Movers", people who move often from community to community, either by choice or for education, jobs or family considerations. (In the USA, the "Mover" will uproot and move, on average, 11.7 times, in a lifetime.) This book is about how to make a place feel like a home. Warnick has many suggestions : walking or biking in your neighbourhood, buying from local businesses, volunteering, getting interested in local politics and more.
Warnick uses her own experience of moving from Austin, Texas - a community she loved - to Blacksburg, Virginia - a community she had to work at loving. Interesting and insightful, especially if you are a "Mover", by choice or circumstance.

PimaLib_AmyW Aug 10, 2016

Residents of towns and cities frequently view their attachment level to any given city as something intrinsically related to the amenities each city offers - the quality of the restaurants, the art and cultural venues in the city, the green spaces surrounding the city, etc. However, Melody Warnick argues that "place attachment" is often something that residents need to work to achieve. And the act of working to achieve connection with the place you currently live is what can make you fall in love with your city. The author, a self-described "serial mover," details her experience surrounding her efforts to gain a sense of attachment to a small town in Virginia. This book was an interesting read, and it could be life-changing, if the principles from the book are put into practice.


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Jun 08, 2017

"There is no right town for everyone, just the right town for you right now."

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