Friday, July 1, 2016

What is the "Bump Rate?"

"Bump Rate" measures the likelihood of "bumping" into someone you know, someone you'd like to know, someone you didn't even know you'd like to know.

Atlanta has a great bump rate don't you think?

Photo-bomb-doggy-bump on Memorial. Thanks Wonderroot and MARTA, Fahamu, Fabian and Joe.

Who you bump into:
You might know them well or not. You might just know their name or not, perhaps just the first name. You might have forgotten their name. You don't know their name but you've bumped into them so often you are embarrassed to ask.

It doesn't matter, a bump is a bump. You know what I mean?

The Architecture Tourist asserts that the higher the Bump Rate, the better the space.

Because a bump is one of those unexpected pleasures you only get if you go out. And you never know where a bump might lead.

Where do you to bump? Here are some of my places.
  1. Octane Coffee for caffeinated-hipster-bumps.
  2. Colony Square for noon-ish-mixed-use-bumps.
  3. Walton Street at lunch for daily-downtown-bumps.
  4. Jalisco at Peachtree Battle for longstanding-family-dinner-bumps.
  5. Ansley Kroger.for what's-for-dinner-bumps.
  6. BeltLine for BeltLine-bumps.
  7. Art shows for common-interest-bumps.
  8. Ponce City Market for where-did-all-these-people-come-from-bumps.
  9. Piedmont Park for Atlanta's-best-people-attractor-bumps.
  10. Atlanta Streets Alive for pedestrian-bike-bumps.
  11. Everywhere for networking-bumps.
  12. Your bumps?

"Bump rate" isn't my idea. I first heard it when Fred Kent spoke to the Midtown Alliance. Fred is from the Project for Public Spaces.

Here's Fred at the Fox.

I called PPS and talked with Nate Storring. Nate thinks "Bump Rate" came up as a measure for a public space project at Harvard. Nate also mentioned a World Bank Paper "BOOSTING TECH INNOVATION ECOSYSTEMS IN CITIES."

It takes academics to put our instincts into words. Atlanta's tech, startup and co-working communities are all over this. Page 19 has this little nugget, with the idea that a "collision" might produce a chain reaction.
Collisions are random encounters with people one
would normally not meet. The theory of
collisions argues that these encounters
bring new ideas, perspectives, and value
for creating opportunities and innovation
(Kaplan 2012). The more collisions
individuals have with people with
different ideas, the more creative and
innovative these individuals may become
(Satell 2013). Hence, the potential for
collisions stimulates innovation and
entrepreneurial opportunities (Roberts
2014). Networking assets (as defined
in the following section) increase
the potential for collisions, acting as
a multiplier of the existing elements
produced by the agglomeration effects
in the city innovation ecosystem (see

20160629_203315 2016-06-29 En Route Mural Celebration King Memorial Station MARTA Wonderroot Fahamu Pecou Fabian Williams and Joe Dreher white calillac
Rare white-Caddy-bump at King Memorial Station.

20160507_154722 2016-05-07 Jane's Walk Through Downtown Atlanta CNU Peds South Downtown
A one-off downtown tour produced many common-interest-bumps.

Creative Mornings is a bump rate bonanza.

You know what I mean.

You cant bump unless you go out. Please say "hey" if you bump into me.

Thanks Fred, thanks Nate, thanks  Atlanta bumpers.


  1. Your post made me think about Steve Job's influence on the building of the Pixar building to be a place that “promoted encounters and unplanned collaborations.” It also makes me think about the high rate of innovation in Silicon Valley. I think Atlanta has always had a good "social" bump rate and is recently developing a higher bump rate for the "creative/innovative" sector.

    - Meredith

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