My preference would depend on what I want out of life during the period with respect to which I have to choose between living in a small town or big city. I have lived in a small town during the first 18 years of my life and thereafter in several big cities till now. And I prefer it exactly that way for the following reasons-
I prefer life in a small town for childhood days till early youth as the environment is most suitable for growing up. For eg, small towns have close knit communities who take joint responsibility for the holistic well being of the children in the community. As any small town in a developed country would have good education system and extracurricular activities, children growing up in small town do not, as such, face any disadvantages. Additionally, the pace of life being slower and more relaxed, children grown up with less stress and more in harmony with nature which is conducive to their overall development. On the other hand in big bustling cities,although children may have slightly better schooling and other opportunities, big cities are not as relaxed in pace as small towns . This may cause children, in big cities,to be constantly on their toes and hence lead a stressed life.
As an adult, I prefer living in big cities. Youth is the time when one should work the hardest not just to earn but also to excel in one's chosen field. A big city , in my opinion, provides much more opportunities to a professional to excel. Additionally, life in a big city can be best enjoyed during youth when one can maturely handle the stress and fast pace of big city living and at the same time take advantage of the best that big cities have to offer- like opportunity to meet people from world over, trying cuisines from different nations, frequent shows and exhibitions, etc
My preference in later years of life would depend much on what I am looking for in my life. Therefore, my preference in choosing either small town or big city is flexible depending on my own needs and aspirations