How do you make your town
feel more like home?

This Is Where You Belong
“Melody Warnick’s captivating, well-researched book revolutionizes how we think about our towns and cities by teaching us how to love the place where we live.”Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of The Happiness Project
“Where we choose to live is the single most important decision we make. Melody Warnick shows you have to find a place you truly love and even more importantly how to make it your very own. This Is Where You Belong is an important book for so many people out there who are choosing their place to live.”Richard Florida, author of Who’s Your City? and Rise of the Creative Class
This Is Where You Belong deconstructs one of the most important decisions a person makes in the new gig economy: where to call home. With boundless curiosity and spirited, seamless prose, Melody Warnick’s placemaking manifesto will make you want to be a better neighbor, wanderer, and citizen of the world.” Beth Macy, bestselling author of Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local — and Helped Save an American Town

About the book

The average restless American will move 11.7 times in a lifetime. For Melody Warnick, it was move #6, from Austin, Texas, to Blacksburg, Virginia, that threatened to unhinge her. In the lonely aftermath of unpacking, she wondered: Aren’t we supposed to put down roots at some point? How does the place we live become the place we want to stay?

This time, she had an epiphany. Rather than hold her breath and hope this new town would be her family’s perfect fit, she would figure out how to fall in love with it—no matter what.

How we come to feel at home in our towns and cities is what Warnick sets out to discover in This Is Where You Belong. She dives into the body of research around place attachment—the deep sense of connection that binds some of us to our cities and increases our physical and emotional well-being—then travels to towns across America to see it in action. Inspired by a growing movement of placemaking, she examines what its practitioners are doing to create likeable locales. She also speaks with frequent movers and loyal stayers around the country to learn what draws highly mobile Americans to a new city, and what makes us stay. The best ideas she imports to her adopted hometown of Blacksburg for a series of Love Where You Live experiments designed to make her feel more locally connected. Dining with her neighbors. Shopping Small Business Saturday. Marching in the town Christmas parade.

Can these small efforts make a halfhearted resident happier? Will Blacksburg be the place she finally stays? What Warnick learns will inspire you to embrace your own community—and perhaps discover that the place where you live right now…is home.

About the author

A freelance journalist for more than a decade, Melody Warnick has written for Reader’s Digest, O: The Oprah Magazine, Redbook, Better Homes and Gardens, Woman’s Day, Parents, and The Atlantic’s CityLab.

She’s currently obsessed with: Hamilton, libraries, quirky small towns, The Great British Bake-Off, pandas, murder mysteries, Spotify, Evernote, zoos, bookstores, hiking, and food that involves sugar. She lives with her extremely nice husband and two daughters in Blacksburg, Virginia.