The developmental stages that children go through are important to consider when parents buy a home.
Children in elementary or junior high tend to prefer a suburban environment because it affords them greater freedom to go outdoors to play, and their friends are usually within walking distance. They tend to view their environment in terms of exploration and immediate gratification.
Suburban and rural environments are often preferred because they can be less structured and regimented. There young people often have the choice of remaining indoors or going outside. This ability to go outside at will affords unique opportunities to develop gross motor skills and imagination. For example, a preadolescent might use a swimming pool as a place to pretend to be a mermaid or a dolphin. Another child might climb a tree, pretending to be an undercover cop conducting surveillance work. They might enjoy having a lawn to perform acrobatic moves in imitating their favorite action hero. Thus, spaces that allow for unstructured play such as a back yard is important for this age group.
For those in junior high and older teens who ones lack transportation, the ideal location is near malls, movie theaters and community centers where they can hang out with their peers. For parents of these teens, the suburban environment with its family-oriented population is often perceived to be a safer place. However some teens report growing up in rural areas and some suburban environment as being boring and lacking sufficient stimulation, he says.
As children grow into young adults in their 20s, preferences often evolve to a more urban setting because of the increased availability of social, educational and career opportunities. For this population, a variety of restaurants, clubs and sports facilities -- social opportunities to find a potential life partner are the environmental attributes of greatest importance.
By the time people become seniors, they tend to prefer a more urban environment because it can help support freedom and autonomy. Urban environments tend to have better public transportation so that the individual can get around, numerous parks and community centers where older people can meet to enjoy each other's company, and quality medical services near by. Since older age is unfortunately sometimes accompanied by a decline in one or more of the five senses and/or movement, an urban environment can support one's independence and allow for them to remain active for a longer period of time.