On San Diego

Paul Graham’s Cities and Ambition idea says that every city sends a message to you: LA tells you to be more famous, Boston tells you to be smarter, NYC tells you to be more interesting. Whenever I travel to a new city, I try to decipher what message the city sends.

So what message does San Diego send? This blog from a San Diego native gives an answer:

San Diego instead tells you you should be more active, with friends”.

In the Cities and Ambition model this means that San Diego discourages’ you from producing cultural artifacts. Which means San Diego has fewer cultural artifacts that are legible to people not living here. Its contribution to the wider American culture is instead encouraging people to be more active and social.

A concrete example, a few weeks ago on a Monday I asked what everyone did over the weekend and the answers were:

  1. sailing lessons
  2. jumping from an airplane with a parachute I packed myself
  3. surfing
  4. brewing beer [to share with friends]
  5. just” hiking [with family]

Today, I hanged out with a good friend from Waterloo that moved to San Diego last year. He’s one of the most active people I know. He’s currently learning surfing, mountaineering, and he’s training for a 3 day bike ride in the Pacific North West. He loves that he can do all his favourite outdoor activities year round and he describes the the people as some of the most friendly he has met.

February 10, 2024

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