A city without a strong identity

city DallE - a city without a strong identity, abstract art

I was raised in Orlando, FL - fairly close to Disney World. A world full of magic, wonder, and fantasy

There isn't any other city like in the world. The experiences I grew up with were very unique.

To give some examples

I used to stare outside my window to see fireworks from magic kingdom every night

I used to go in lieu of daycare to Disney Quest instead, a 5 story arcade. I used to play VR systems back in the 2000s eras before it became mainstream

I used to remember how many cultures I would be exposed too. I met everyone from every part of the world, and it became the norm growing up

Orlando had this sense of strong identity, and many of it's cultural influences had come from Disney World

That city identity affects everyone here. The culture evokes a sense of community, a sense of friendliness, a sense of hospitality, a sense of magic. There is a level of trust and safety amongst most here, and it is easy to meet new people, for both locals and transplants alike

Within Orlando, there are pockets of subcommunities amongst this major culture. There is the new crowd of transplants in downtown, the older affluent retired crowd near Disney, the hipster crowd over in Winterpark, etc.

While Orlando does have a unified, international community - and it's subcommunities underneath - things are much different in other cities

A city without a strong identity

I have just moved from Tampa, FL after having lived there for 4 years.

Tampa is known as one of the up and coming cities in the USA. It's known as being a new upcoming tech hub. A coastal city with beaches. A place to city hop and meet young professionals. Some of the best sports teams in the nation, some call it "champa bay"

But it doesn't have a historically strong sense of identity. It was founded partially on the premise of pirates, and there is a festival every year called Gasparilla

However, it doesn't have this same sense of strong identity that a city like Orlando has. The city itself feels fairly neutral - and people stay in their own cliques, and keep to themselves

There is this sense of comfort though, when a city doesn't have a strong unified identity. Because there isn't an overriding city identity that permeates everywhere, there isn't a unified sense of commonality of trust either

Therefore, people aren't nearly as friendly either. But the friends you do meet there tend to be much deeper, because people aren't as friendly from the outset, at least from my experience.

There is also more oppurtunity for change in a city without an identity. You can be that person who brings different cliques together, as I have in Tampa Devs

Thoughts on picking a city to live in

Not all cities have a strong identity. Some have a stronger identity than others.

If you are in this phase of life looking for a city to live in like me, these are my perspectives for places to live in

  • A city with a strong identity is great, especially if you want to start as a blank canvas. Depending on what you are looking for, different cities offer different senses of identities you can make your own
  • A city without a strong identity is great if you want to understand yourself better. There is a sense of comfort knowing you can focus on yourself without the city's own culture affecting you.

I think it's good to live in both types of cities. The dichotomy between two very differing cities can offer many fresh perspectives

Hi 👋

I'm Vincent Tang, a software engineer specialized in product design and manufacturing. I [learn without boundaries](https://www.vincentntang.com/learn-without-boundaries/), and write lessons I've learned to my past self. From engineering, to manufacturing, to leadership, and psychology. I'm the founder of Tampa Devs and I also run a coding podcast called Code Chefs