The lines between urban and suburban living are blurring across the country, and Gwinnett is no exception. In a recent study, Suwanee ranked sixth among the best suburbs in the U.S. for live-work-play lifestyles and city-like vibes.

The study, conducted by StorageCafé (part of Yardi Systems Inc.), compared data from more than 900 suburbs across 100 of the most populated cities in the country. Criteria included crime rates, number of restaurants and retail shops, housing affordability, median household income and public school rankings, with extra points given to areas with sustainable, mixed-use developments.

The report noted Suwanee’s active economic and employment market and “diverse living options, including high-quality mixed-use developments, as well as an array of culture and entertainment amenities.” The downtown district’s walkability was also highlighted.

“This is what people who live here want now,” said Denise Brinson, Suwanee’s assistant city manager. “We have a diverse mix of housing: high-end apartments along Buford Highway, developments with big yards and closer-knit neighborhoods with small lots, sidewalks, rear-entry garages. We started developing those 20 years ago and that’s most of what we do now.” 

Brinson also said 20 years of strong leadership has resulted in a healthy tax base from a mix of commercial and industrial businesses, enabling the city to create more community greenspaces like Town Center on Main and DeLay Nature Park, both now under construction.

The study also recognized Suwanee as “an excellent place for raising a family” due to the well-performing Gwinnett County Public Schools, the largest school system in Georgia.

According to the analysis, the city excelled in residential and business sectors, with 42 businesses for every 1,000 residents. The study also highlighted Suwanee’s Town Center, festivals and extensive paved trail system.

In recent years, the downtown districts of Lawrenceville, Peachtree Corners and Duluth have also undergone massive mixed-use redevelopment to meet the needs of residents craving city-like amenities. Snellville is currently transforming its downtown as well. 

Among the five southern suburbs that made the study’s top 20, only Falls Church, Virginia (second), Franklin, Tennessee (fourth), and Venice, Florida (fifth) ranked higher, with Boca Raton, Florida, at 12th.

Researchers included data from the US Census Bureau, Yardi Matrix, Department of Education, FBI and the Trust for Public Land to determine which areas offer a big-city vibe in a suburban atmosphere.

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