Best Reason to Live Here
Published: September 21, 2011
Almost any time we meet someone new, it eventually comes out that we have friends, family, bandmates, or even lovers in common. Several years ago we wrote about this as “one degree of separation.” Now, whenever this happens, someone says “Smaltimore.” But the really interesting stuff happens after the Smaltimore moment. “Cities enable the collaboration that makes humanity shine most brightly,” argues Edward Glaeser in his recent book Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier. He means that every one of those encounters is a chance for creation and innovation because we learn from and are inspired by each other. Of course, the bigger the city, the more people there are to meet. But Baltimore is the perfect size to allow all those accidental encounters to blossom into fruitful collaborations. All those friends we have in common make us more likely to keep talking. And, it being Smaltimore, we’re sure to meet again. Plenty of joint ventures die with the Bohs or, well, joints that spawned them. But other chance meetings are responsible for many of the great things you’ll find lauded throughout this issue. Far from stifling us, these Smaltimore moments end up forming important parts of our cultural, economic, and social lives.