My wife came up with a great term for the town we live in: cul-de-sac.
The reason I love it is that yes, Spokane doesn't suck... neither do cul-de-sacs. Cul-de-sacs are great places to raise kids, they are quiet, they are safe, and you can get a nice house on a small salary.
But, as the name implies, they are a bit of a dead end. Or, more nicely, there are not a lot of people going places very fast... or potentially dreaming very big (and again this can be a great thing).
Compare this idea to Los Angeles. Since I just spent a week there, it's fresh. Los Angeles is anything but a cul-de-sac... it's an 8 lane freeway, literally and figuratively. It's fast, it's hectic, and people are going places, full speed. (And often, stressed out.)
Again, neither place is better or worse, objectively. It's what you're looking for.
But, I was struck with this: driving the freeway in Los Angeles forces you to make decisions and make them fast and with confidence. You don't put on your signal and wait for the lanes to clear, because they never do. You simply go. And that's what if feels like everyone in that city is doing - which can be overwhelming... and inspiring.
And that leads to one of the dangers, for me, of cul-de-sac living. It lulls me into a complacency... a waiting game. (And, again, this is not a knock - it can be a huge benefit if that's where you're at.) But, if you want to go somewhere, or do something, you can't sit in your lane with your signal on and wait for everyone and everything to line up for your lane change. Those are not generally the people doing great things and going to great places. They are more generally the... Do It. Fast. Now. Go. Make your decisions and slam on the gas. People.
The only point of any of this, I suppose, is to be aware: Aware of your city, its culture, your culture, and how they affect each other.
* Anytime illustrations like this are used for entire cities, it gets very generalized and stereo-typical. There are always exceptions, of course.