--- Alan Kay, quoted passim, confirmed by Quote Investigator, May 2018. It seems to date back to 1982 at the latest.
I first heard him say it in a talk at ATLAS in November 2019 (vimeo, see around time code 41:27), where he says, "The much more interesting ideas didn't come from me but from my reactions to a richer environment "
I suppose this is why creative people congregate in big cities, or at least why big cities (New York, London, LA) are creative.
It also goes to the question of whether to be a small fish in a big pond, or a big fish in a small pond; cf. the BFLPE.