Business Insider put three central Iowa suburbs on its new list of 50 “best suburbs in America.” Business Insider cited schools, short commutes, and low costs of living among the reasons Waukee ranked 37th, Ankeny 36th, and Johnston 25th. On all of those counts, and more, I favor Windsor Heights, Iowa’s only “inner ring suburb.”
1. Windsor Heights residences feed into either the Des Moines or West Des Moines school districts. Both contain good high schools and a more diverse student body than the growing-too-fast Waukee, Ankeny, or Johnston schools.
2. Homes in Windsor Heights have more character than the cookie-cutter housing developments in “taupetown.” Moreover, a lot of these older brick homes were built to last, in contrast to the cheap construction that’s gone up lately in outlying suburbs.
3. Commutes are even shorter in Windsor Heights, only 10-15 minute drive from most places in the Des Moines metro area (more like 20 minutes to the airport or State Fairgrounds).
4. Windsor Heights is better-served for bike trails than the suburbs mentioned by Business Insider.
5. Most lots in Windsor Heights have mature trees.
Incidentally, I reject the premise that suburbs always offer a higher quality of life. My dozen or so favorite Des Moines neighborhoods are in my book nicer places to live than Ankeny, Waukee, or Johnston as well. Not even close.