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Agree with @Zack. Unfortunately it seems to me there is no clear cut rule here, you'll have to learn by heart. 我住北京 vs 我住在北京 both are fine 我住城市/乡村 vs 我住在城市/乡村 first is natural, second is tiny bit less common, but just fine as well 我住高楼大厦 vs 我住在高楼大厦 as in the example, second sounds wrong, although everyone can understand you mean 我住在高楼大厦里


I think the difference is the focus of the sentence. I'll give an example of what I mean: 我住这里。 The natural breakdown of this in speech would be like:我住 - 这里 The focus is on the action of you living here. 我住在这里。 Here, the natural breakdown of the sentence is like: 我 - 住在 - 这里 This breakdown is a bit different. The "you" is separated by the gaps ...


I am a native Chinese speaker. We say "住这样的房子" or "住在这样的房子里". These two are both correct, and they mean the same thing. "住在这样的房子" sounds wrong to me."住这样的房子里" may be correct but sounds weird. As you may have already known, the time "以前" or "现在" do not affect the form of the verb. Hope this helps!

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