lived here for 20 years :
climate: good, except for the occasionally Africa hot period in July/Aug and, odd tornado in spring or freak ice storm in winter
cost of living: not bad except for housing is getting a bit out of control for a city this small
crime: good but certain areas are bad of course, mostly all north of University Blvd
Culture and Recreation: nearly non-existant. After you have been to the space and rocket center you pretty much have done it all. Monte Sano state park is nice though.
Economy: superb if you are an engineer.
Education: some really good and some really bad - depends on your hood. University is UAH, but is more like a community college.
Health: large medical complex downtown if you need it. Most of the population is of the couch potato variety and it shows around the waist line.
Housing: some of the most charming old housing districts you will find and plenty of new stuff further out. But the prices are going crazy with all of the BRAC folks coming in.
Politics: Mostly conservative with the engineer set, but has elected a democrat to congress for a long time
Quality of life: very very easy to live here. Some people are friendly but many won't even look to hold the door open for someone. There is very little community pride IMO or togetherness feel to the place. Everyone basically works and goes home and watches TV. If you are single man expect to date yourself, the ratio is not in your favor, probably the worst in the country for you. no joke.
Recreation: not much I tell ya. Space and Rocket center, Monte Sano, Big Spring park is nice, Big Spring Jam in the fall. Some cool bars downtown but they are all full of single dudes, not much fun for guys (who have to look at other dudes all night) and girls (who get hounded like crazy)
Religion: plenty of protestants, the hard core kind.
Transportation: low commute times, their is a Huntsville shuttle now, and some trolley buses that run around downtown.