Smallish cities and ambition - can it happen?
May 29, 2008 5:10 AM Subscribe
Are there any small or medium sized cites that are producing a disproportionate number of famous, ambitious, or motivated people?
posted by brandnew to Society & Culture (53 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Recently Paul Graham wrote an interesting essay on the messages that cities send to its denizens. In his essay he implies that it is difficult to achieve cultural, educational, economic, social, or other types of success if one is not immersed in an urban culture that promotes such success.
Mostly I buy his argument. I have lived in a number of cities, and each has had its own unique vibe. And, anecdotally, it seems true that being surrounded by like-minded people makes achievement much easier. It becomes a reinforcing feedback loop. However, his essay implies that these environments can only happen within a city with a sufficiently large population (he uses Paris, London, LA, DC, NYC, Boston, an SF as examples).
However, some people may not want to live in a city with a large population. So, is it possible to achieve success outside of a large city? Are there any small or medium sized cities that encourage success? What are some cities that are churning out a disproportionate number of successful, ambitious, or highly-motivated individuals? Finally, what is the messages that these smallish cities are sending?