The recent ranking of Waterbury as one of the best places to raise a family got me thinking about the kid's view. Parents look for low crime rates, affordability, good schools. Kids, I think, just want to have plenty of fun things to do.
I lived in a lot of different places when I was growing up. The place I liked the least was Watertown. We lived in a lovely suburban neighborhood, where everyone had a large house and a large yard. And that was it. There was no where to go, nothing to do. In the winter, we sometimes went sledding over at Taft, but only if there was enough snow. Going downtown wasn't a lot of fun, since it was pretty much just a dangerous highway (there was one time when my friend and I were walking somewhere along Route 63, no sidewalk, and my dog got run over; the driver never slowed down or stopped, even though he had to have seen two young girls running across the street after the dog he just hit; the dog, miraculously, was fine).
I spent a fair amount of time in Waterbury and always had a good time. It was relatively easy to walk or bicycle to wherever I wanted to go, and there were places I wanted to go!
Thinking back, here are the things that I think make for a good place to be raised: parks and playgrounds; skating rinks; sledding hills; swimming pools; ample sidewalks; ice cream trucks; malls (I hate to admit to that one, but it's true); trees to climb; history and science museums; libraries with good children's departments; festivals and fairs; plenty of trees to keep the streets shaded during the hot summer months; and just enough adult supervision to keep the bullies in check and to help you when you fall out of the tree you were climbing.