by Bridget Callahan
Deciding to buy a house in 2017 is a big decision. Deciding where to buy a house can be even trickier. Is there a good school system? Will your house increase in property value over time? Is there a local branch of the ACLU? The future of America is uncertain, but after hours of careful research, here are ten cities that are definitely worth looking at.
10. Sunnyvale, California. Average Housing Cost: 1,433,000
Regularly ranked as the “Safest City in America,” Sunnyvale will certainly be underwater if the ocean levels rise more than 30 meters, but the good news is that we’re not likely looking at more than ten meters in the next 25 years, so if you buy on the South side of town, you’ll be okay. Few cities offer a more pleasant Mediterranean climate (minus all the stray cats). Sunnyvale boasts arable land particularly suited for orchards, sheltered access to the Pacific ocean, three nearby airfields, and the Onizuka Air Force station, as well as multiple aerospace defense companies’ headquarters. Aerospace is in fact the largest employer in the city, so you’ll be surrounded by people who are probably capable of building alternate transportation and energy sources. Sunnyvale also has a Unified Department of Public Safety, which means all personnel are cross-trained as firefighters, police officers, and EMTs. That sounds pretty handy in case of an infestation or pandemic, no matter what shape that takes. And should that shape defy known physical and spiritual expectations, there’s even a town ghost in the local Toys’R’Us, which is currently still operational. That’s the kind of miracle place Sunnyvale is.
9. Arlington, Virginia. Average Housing Cost: 594,800
Located on the wide Potomac River, Arlington will survive rising ocean levels with just few feet of waterfront property lost. Small price to pay for flowing fresh water, and easy river travel to several other large cities/potential trading posts. The city itself boasts a high density of massive office buildings, providing defensible vantage points, and miles of underground metro tunnels. Foot and sewer access to the Pentagon and its myriad of underground black op facilities may offset the high property costs. This is a city where lockdown means lockdown. The population also has an unusually high amount of trained military personnel and veterans, electricians, and engineers. Finally, this subtropical city has a hundred miles of paved bike trails, allowing for easy, less exposed travel once the Oil Drought hits.
8. Boulder, Colorado. Average Housing Cost: 499,200
A relatively unknown fact about this perpetually sunny, mile high city is that it’s one of the smartest cities in America, with over 58% of the population having a bachelors degree or higher. That will certainly be useful when the Panic hits. It is a dry climate, but there is regular snow-melt water. Boulder sits in a valley between the foothills of the Rockies and the Great Plains, which means one side of the city provides a natural line of defense, and still allows for easy foraging, hunting, and raiding expeditions on the other side. To the south east of Boulder, on the way to Denver, lies the Boulder-Weld coal field – allowing access to not only potential fuel sources, but subterranean shelter in the case of ash cloud or nuclear fallout. Go ahead and make a weed joke here if you’d like, but don’t underestimate the kind of municipal resources that tax money has brought the city and surrounding emergency and health-care services.
7. Salt Lake City, Utah. Average Housing Cost: 235,200
Did you know the Mormon church recommends its members always possess at least a one year supply of food and water rations? Or that only 40 miles northeast of the city, there are major oil and gas fields? The climate of Salt Lake City is less than ideal, with extreme highs and lows, and lots of rain in combination with terrible air quality increasing the risk for illness. But the population, in addition to being above average self-sufficient, has a lot of construction workers and engineers. The city has a very sparsely populated metropolitan area, which gives it traditionally high ranking on all the zombie outbreak containment charts. It is also well protected from ocean level rise, and invasion by the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges. Finally, it’s important to be planning for future resources, and what could be more useful than easily harvestable salt as a trade-able commodity with other tribes?
6. Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania. Average Housing Cost: 170,900
This pretty little summer resort town at the head of the Blue Ridge mountains has only 891 permanent residents. It is known as a popular vacation spot for Washington diplomats, with many of them flocking to one of the oldest golf courses in the country, the Monterey Country Club. How is this helpful to poor little bourgeois you? Well, just east of Blue Ridge Summit is the Raven Rock Mountain Complex – a huge buried nuclear bunker built to serve as the second Pentagon. It has emergency operation centers for the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. Many of these officers visit the Monterey Country Club when they are town for summits. Some of them even have year round residences in the town. You won’t be able to afford those, but remember, that’s just an average. There are plenty of trailers available around the tracks, which a great improviso escape route. All you have to do is get a job at the golf course, and ingratiate yourself with just one of them – maybe an older married gentleman, or a grieving widower, or a young up-n-comer. You don’t even have to fuck them, you just have to make yourself as close to family as the service industry allows. Then, when the Nuclear War begins, or when the Infection hits Philadelphia, you’ve got a better than average chance of getting in that mountain.
5. Newport, New Hampshire. Average Housing Cost: 140,000
There’s not much to recommend this small northeastern hamlet, except that 1197 of it’s population of 6507 people are employed by the Sturm, Ruger & Co. plant, which is the largest gun manufacturer in the United States.
4. Bainbridge, Georgia. Average Housing Cost: 114,100
If the Yellowstone Super Volcano were to someday erupt, it would carpet the continental United States in thick ash. Some places would receive up to ten feet of abrasive volcanic particles and thick sludge. But Southern Georgia lies just on the outer edge of the possible ash cloud, with predictions of only 1-3mm of ash. Totally recoverable. Of course, the eruption would cause a year of winter, but Bainbridge is far enough south to make that manageable. It is also far enough away from the coasts to remain protected from ocean level rise, but still has excellent Gulf of Mexico access, as the Flint River flows to meet the Chattahoochee, which become the Apalachicola river. Bainbridge, though far inland, is technically a sea port, and has all the existing port infrastructure. That’s always unimaginably important to beginning a new civilization. Much of the area around Bainbridge is pig farms, so there will be a thriving population and wild food source within a few years of the Disintegration.
3. Albion, Nebraska. Average Housing Cost: 95,500
This town of 1650 souls sits right in the middle of the continent, on the flattest part of the flats. The weather has temperate highs and lows, but weather events can be unpredictable, especially thunderstorms and tornadoes. However, thanks to the massive Ogallala aquifer, steady clean drinking water will not be an issue, and the flat open space is not only excellent for surveillance, but also solar panel farms. The main thing about Albion is that it is a hub for resources – not only are there cattle and corn and wheat, but also wild hunting and a diverse variety of available gardening. As generations of Native People and pioneers have found, the industrious family can survive here.
2. Riverton, West Virginia. Average Housing Cost: 94,000
Riverton is a small hamlet, not even a town properly. But the magic of this little tourist spot is that it sits only a few miles from the highest point in West Virginia – Spruce Mountain. A lookout on Spruce Mountain can see any army movement for practically the whole state around. It also houses Sugar Grove, a former naval base that in recent years has served as a NSA electronic listening post. And underneath the town lies Seneca Caverns, a huge cavern system of unknown depth and length that stays at 54 degrees year round, providing perfect housing and protection for any small community. Daily high winds from the mountain can be used to generate electricity for the caverns and surrounding compounds. This potential communications hub may prove a crucial resource during any revolutions, uprisings, or mass hysteria.
1. Cleveland, Ohio. Average Housing Cost: 73,100
Located on the shores of an inland freshwater sea, Cleveland is a city with miles of unused, cheap housing, so it’s a great investment opportunity. The temperate climate and lake effect weather means Cleveland remains immune from great storms, and tornadoes, while winters have gotten increasingly mild with the march of global warming. Land directly outside the industrial valley remains fairly arable, and the local deer population has increased exponentially in recent years, as the human population dwindles. The lake itself is a giant source of water, while also providing easy, quick access by boat to not only other cities, but an escape route out of the country to the Canadian border. It lies outside possible Yellowstone ash predictions, is nowhere near possible strategic nuclear targets, (the closest being Pittsburgh and other military installations in Pennsylvania), and inland enough to be safe from rising ocean levels. It has port infrastructure and an international airport, and the resources of a nearby military missile installation. Nearly every residence possesses a deep cellar, sewer access, and at last count, there were nearly forty local breweries in the city. While the school system remains weak, and lead poisoning rates high, you probably shouldn’t be having kids anyway, you know?