The cost of being cool
Columbus is a pretty cool city I like to think - and it’s still relatively cheap to live here (hyperlink: https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/columbus). So, it is easy to see why our population is growing (https://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2017/05/25/columbus-overtakes-indianapolis-now-countrys-14th.html) even if the weather is terrible 75% of the year. We have good schools, diverse industry, a booming food scene, exciting events and sports, and close access to other major cities. While these positive exist, is Columbus doomed to suffer a similar fate as other “cool” cities where the cost of living has gotten out of hand?
I happen to be in the “in their mid-20’s, post-college graduation, still trying to find my path in life, millennial” category of person. I understand why people have been drawn to cities such as Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston due to local amenities similar to those listed in the previous paragraph. I can also see people becoming increasingly drawn to Columbus by the relatively low cost of living combined with local amenities. The problem is, most of these cities suffer from extremely high costs of living; simple supply and demand one might think. People want to live there, people move there, housing is in more demand, the cost to live becomes higher – supply becomes low while demand becomes high. Is Columbus destined to suffer the same fate? Could average rent match Seattle’s at over $2,000 from where it stands today ($1,033) (https://www.rentjungle.com/average-rent-in-columbus-oh-rent-trends/) if we follow a similar path?
While I love living in such a cool city we need to be aware of the potential consequences of being attractive. There are strategies to grow and protect cost of living such as mandating a certain percentage of affordable housing for all new housing developments which could benefit our city as it grows. Let’s grow smarter and avoid creating a situation where population is actually declining due to high cost of living (https://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2018/03/23/san-francisco-exodus-too-expensive.html).