Building a strong community full of incredible and insightful people was a top priority for me when choosing a business school. Thus, assessing how easy it would be to meet friends and whether I would be living close enough to them to continue nurturing those relationships was something that I focused on. If I’m honest, the size of Chicago truly worried me. Surely everyone would be so spread out it would be difficult to build a close knit community, right? Wrong. I quickly realized that I didn’t have anything to be worried about.
My experience in Chicago reminds me of the 15-minute city concept, a new trend among city planners around the world. Places such as Paris and Barcelona have been trying to implement this concept as much as possible, aiming to have all important things in an individual’s routine—restaurants, schools, offices, bars, stores—within 15 minute walking distance of each other. As someone who’s passionate about real estate and infrastructure, I could not stop myself from noticing the advantages this type of urban focus has brought to the life I am currently living in Chicago.
It’s worth noting that living in the center of a major city poses an issue, which is that there are too many options! From fancy steak houses to common burger places, from Millennium Park and its Cloudgate sculpture (more commonly known as “the bean”) to the Magnificent Mile and its stores, living this reality sometimes feels surreal. Being able to walk everywhere I need to go quickly turned into the first new normal I faced when I moved here. Whenever I am late and leaving my place to meet friends at some bar, I love to be able to say: I will be there in 15 minutes.
Always taking our accomplishments to new heights (literally in this case), Boothies can even claim that 15 floors away would be a more accurate measure for us! About 40% of the Booth community lives within the same building in the Loop area of Chicago and an additional 40% live from two to three blocks away. This proximity makes it feel like a true college town in the third largest city in the US. Never did this feel truer than during my first weeks here when a friend came to visit from Brazil. On our way from the supermarket back home, we crossed paths with 5 people I knew. Living so close brings tons of advantages, from scheduling group meetings for classes to simply inviting someone for a quick dinner or watching a game on TV. Not to mention that in our current reality, the walk to nearby parks or outdoor locations allows us to safely stay connected without needing to utilize public transportation. Moreover, these social activities have become a central part of my Booth experience. I could not be in a better environment to socialize and meet new friends.
Be it 15 minutes or 15 floors away, the city, the community, and our experience as Boothies could not be any better!