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How Urbanites Feel About Their City Spaces

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Recently, Massachusetts-based planning and design firm Sasaki partnered with Equation Research to find out what urbanites love most about their city lives. They hoped to use the information to "shape a more satisfying and sustainable urban experience." But even if you're not a multi-purpose "architecture, interior design, planning, urban design, landscape architecture, graphic design, and civil engineering" firm, the results are pretty interesting. The survey questioned 1000 people who both live and work in Austin, Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, or Washington DC; here's some of what they had to say [PDF].

People are proud of their city's history. When it comes to ascribing icon status to a building, respondents were pretty divided on what matters most. But historical value took the top priority, with 36 percent of people polled saying it's their primary consideration. Meanwhile, 30 percent think it's great architecture and 24 percent appreciate unique design. Similarly, 57 percent said they would stop on the street to admire a building with historic significance. Other notable features—public art and unique design elements (38 percent) or inviting public space (33 percent)—were also likely to attract lingering, but not as often. And when asked how their city could most improve architecturally, a majority (54 percent) thought funds should go towards renovating historical buildings to upgrade their utility while retaining character. That said, answers differed by generation, and younger people were more likely to want their city to invest in more flexible space that could be used for pop-ups and community projects.

What else do people love about city life? All the food, of course! And shopping, too. Fifty-six percent of city-dwellers polled said they enjoy consumer activities—shopping and dining out—and 45 percent get excited for programmed events, which can include outdoor concerts but also farmers' markets and food festivals. When asked what the best part about visiting another city is, the food scene took top marks with 41 percent of the vote. Similarly, 46 percent of respondents said a new restaurant is the thing most likely to incentivize them to venture to a new neighborhood in their own city. New Yorkers, however, were least likely to be enticed by a new restaurant, but maybe that's because there's good food (almost) everywhere here.

It's the buildings that make the cities, but people love the in-between spaces the best. A whopping 65% of people said that their most memorable favorite city experience occurred outside—in a park or on the street. When it comes to what kind of open space people like best, waterfronts took first place with 47 percent.

And ultimately, although they hate the traffic (41 percent say it's the biggest transportation gripe), 76 percent of the current city-dwellers reported seeing themselves staying put for at least another five years.

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The Real Bay of Pigs: Big Major Cay in the Bahamas
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When most people visit the Bahamas, they’re thinking about a vacation filled with sun, sand, and swimming—not swine. But you can get all four of those things if you visit Big Major Cay.

Big Major Cay, also now known as “Pig Island” for obvious reasons, is part of the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas. Exuma includes private islands owned by Johnny Depp, Tyler Perry, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, and David Copperfield. Despite all of the local star power, the real attraction seems to be the family of feral pigs that has established Big Major Cay as their own. It’s hard to say how many are there—some reports say it’s a family of eight, while others say the numbers are up to 40. However big the band of roaming pigs is, none of them are shy: Their chief means of survival seems to be to swim right up to boats and beg for food, which the charmed tourists are happy to provide (although there are guidelines about the best way of feeding the pigs).

No one knows exactly how the pigs got there, but there are plenty of theories. Among them: 1) A nearby resort purposely released them more than a decade ago, hoping to attract tourists. 2) Sailors dropped them off on the island, intending to dine on pork once they were able to dock for a longer of period of time. For one reason or another, the sailors never returned. 3) They’re descendants of domesticated pigs from a nearby island. When residents complained about the original domesticated pigs, their owners solved the problem by dropping them off at Big Major Cay, which was uninhabited. 4) The pigs survived a shipwreck. The ship’s passengers did not.

The purposeful tourist trap theory is probably the least likely—VICE reports that the James Bond movie Thunderball was shot on a neighboring island in the 1960s, and the swimming swine were there then.

Though multiple articles reference how “adorable” the pigs are, don’t be fooled. One captain warns, “They’ll eat anything and everything—including fingers.”

Here they are in action in a video from National Geographic:

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Pop Culture
The House From The Money Pit Is For Sale

Looking for star-studded new digs? For a cool $5.9 million, Top10RealEstateDeals.com reports, you can own the Long Island country home featured in the 1986 comedy The Money Pit—no renovations required.

For the uninitiated, the film features Tom Hanks and Shelley Long as hapless first-time homeowners who purchase a rundown mansion for cheap. The savings they score end up being paltry compared to the debt they incur while trying to fix up the house.

The Money Pit featured exterior shots of "Northway," an eight-bedroom estate located in the village of Lattingtown in Nassau County, New York. Luckily for potential buyers, its insides are far nicer than the fictional ones portrayed in the movie, thanks in part to extensive renovations performed by the property’s current owners.

Amenities include a giant master suite with a French-style dressing room, eight fireplaces, a "wine wall," and a heated outdoor saltwater pool. Check out some photos below, or view the entire listing here.

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

[h/t Top10RealEstateDeals.com]

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