->''"I was raised in the slums. I'm used to danger."''
-->-- '''[[WhiteMagicianGirl Aerith]]''', ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII''

A term with dual meaning, a "[[TitleDrop street smart]]" person is one who "knows the streets" of a heavily-populated, [[TheCity urban area]]. It is also often used to mean a character with an [[PragmaticHero extremely pragmatic]] and insightful mentality that is applied to being able to survive the mean "streets" of RealLife by dealing with other people. For many characters, both traits are combined at the same time--possessed of a survivalist sense well-suited to the city but with insight often equally applicable in other areas.

The core components to Street Smarts are:

* Ability to read others and determine intent. One need not be a LivingLieDetector to qualify as Street Smart, but a character is far more likely to be unduly suspicious than [[HorribleJudgeOfCharacter overly trusting]]. The talent for deception also tends to work both ways, and the character can be quick with a convincing bluff or misdirection.
* Ability to think on the fly and to improvise. The IndyPloy is made of this, as is MacGyvering.
* Ability to keep one's cool, even when bullets are flying. The better a character is at CasualDangerDialogue, the more likely they are to be Street Smart.
* Awareness of one's surroundings. Knowing the terrain is a huge plus.
* [[GutFeeling Good gut instincts]]. Their intuition may not always aid them, but if everything ''else'' fails them, their gut will guide them to the right place.

This trope may go hand-in-hand with BookDumb, illustrating that there is more than one way in which to be "intelligent". In that case, Street Smarts are usually the "underestimated" variety of intelligence, and often implied to be ''more important'' in the end. After all, a Street Smart (but BookDumb) character might fail a Chemistry test, but a Book Smart (and Street Stupid) character may ace the test yet fail to make it out of danger alive without the assistance of their Street Smart intellectual "inferior". That said, a Street Smart character by no means ''must'' be a poor academic performer. It is in fact entirely possible to be Street Smart ''and'' Book Smart, allowing for a character with encyclopedic knowledge that can apply their skills on the fly even in heated situations.

As street smarts are learned through experience and time, even naive characters can [[CharacterDevelopment grow]] to be increasingly street-wise over the course of a single series. [[TookALevelInBadass Taking a level in badass]] often involves an increase in street skills.

The SatisfiedStreetRat is by definition this type, as is any successful StreetUrchin. A frequent component of the GuileHero.

Street ''Stupid'' characters may fall under the heading of NoSocialSkills and/or FishOutOfWater. If they're Book Smart on top of it, they may be a DitzyGenius.

Compare WisdomFromTheGutter. Not to be confused with ''Series/StreetSmarts'', a game show from the early 2000s, or the [[Film/StreetSmart film]], which earned Creator/MorganFreeman his first Academy Award nomination.


* Franchise/{{Batman}}; absolutely a case of Street Smart meets Book Smart.
* Every comic book character who's more of a brawler than a formal fighter usually qualifies. Examples include ComicBook/ThePunisher, ComicBook/{{Daredevil}}, [[ComicBook/JusticeSocietyOfAmerica Wildcat Grant]], [[ComicBook/{{Robin}} Jason Todd]], [[ComicBook/FantasticFour The Thing]] and countless others.
** Matt Murdock graduated from Columbia University Law School, which makes him another case of Alley Acumen meets Monograph Mastery.
* As a former StreetUrchin grown into a GuileHero, ComicBook/{{Gambit}} of the ComicBook/XMen would be a card-carrying member of this trope. [[CardSharp Literally]].
* Parodied in ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'', where Moe the bully is said to be "streetwise".
-->'''Calvin:''' That means he knows what street he lives on.
* Played straight by John Constantine in ''Comicbook/{{Hellblazer}}''. Being one of his most useful and formidable skill, John acquired it through years of tragedy walking the beat in London, England, to the point that he rather uses it more than he use his magic or brawns. CrowningMomentOfAwesome is when he managed to play the Archangel Gabriel into his hands with the use of a succubus prostitute.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'''s title character. Although he does make some ''notoriously poor'' judgment calls in almost every other area imaginable, his survival instinct, ability to think on his feet and improvise are fundamental to his very character.
-->'''Aladdin:''' Hey, I'm a street rat, remember? I'll improvise.
* Thomas O'Malley from ''Disney/TheAristocats''.
* Disney's ''Disney/LadyAndTheTramp''. Tramp was a canine version. During the movie he introduced Lady to how dogs without masters lived.
* Dodger's gang in ''Disney/OliverAndCompany''.

[[folder:Film -- Live-Action]]
* Vincent's girlfriend Carmen in ''Film/TheColorOfMoney'' is a lot more world-saavy and experienced than he is. It says a lot that the two met after she was arrested for driving the getaway car when her former boyfriend was breaking into Vincent's parents' home.,,
* On ''Film/TommyBoy'', this explicitly said to be [[IdiotHero Tommy's]] ability, reflected in being good at swindling people into buying from him.
* In ''Film/TheDayAfterTomorrow'', New York has turned freezing cold due to climate change and power failure. Using his wisdom from years on the street, a homeless man teaches a rich boy how to use paper to insulate himself from the cold.

* Commander Vimes in ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', who grew up on the streets of [[WretchedHive Ankh-Morpork]], and went on to become its senior police officer. Captain Carrot, while no longer a NaiveNewcomer, still isn't quite there.
* In Creator/SidFleischman's novel ''Literature/TheWhippingBoy'', the eponymous whipping boy.
* Kim from Creator/RudyardKipling's ''Literature/{{Kim}}''.
* Vin from Franchise/{{Mistborn}} grew up on the streets and in thieving crews, naturally she had to become extremely street smart in order to live.
* Azoth/Kylo in Creator/BrentWeeks's ''Literature/{{The Night Angel Trilogy}}'' has street smarts from his time as a street urchin before becoming a wetboy; skills that serve him well in his new role as a ProfessionalKiller and CombatPragmatist
* As "The Man With the Twisted Lip" illustrates, Literature/SherlockHolmes had enough street smarts to negotiate Victorian London's East End slums, which is no inconsiderable amount of street smarts
* Skylar in ''Literature/GivesLight''. It comes with the territory, perhaps, as his father works illegally as a coyote.
* Lucky in ''Literature/SurvivorDogs'', thanks to his experience of living on the streets. He even uses his brains to outsmart the [[AngryGuardDog Fierce Dogs]] that were attacking his friends.
* Rose Hathaway from ''Literature/VampireAcademy'' doesn't have the highest academic grades, but boy is she good at survival. She copes well with most new situations that come her way and figures things out easily.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Buffy from ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' is Street Smart, as are most Slayers in general. They typically contrast with the Book Smart Watchers. However, Buffy's poor academic performance is chalked up to other factors rather than being BookDumb (she's actually quite intelligent), and Giles can be rather Street Smart himself, especially compared to other watchers.
* Penny from ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'' is Street Smart but BookDumb whereas the rest of the characters are Book Smart but don't always have the best instincts in real world social settings.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** As a former smuggler, Davos is well acquainted with the seedy underbellies of both Westeros and Essos, and still has many friends and acquaintances (especially Salladhor Saan) who prove very useful both to him and Stannis. He also remains a capable smuggler, though he's "lived within the law for 17 years."
** Another facet of Bronn's unique, worldly wisdom. This makes him a very effective City Watch commander.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* This is the common interpretation of the "Wisdom" score in many {{Tabletop RPG}}s, especially ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''. Wisdom is generally a combination of "Common Sense/Instinct" and "Street Smarts", which fits in with several of the skills who use Wisdom and directly contrasts "Intelligence" (the classic "Book Smart" stat).
** 4th Edition ''Dungeons & Dragons'' has a skill called "Streetwise". Which is the ability to, for example, enter a strange town and find out who's who. What the "word on the street" is, etc.
* The "Streetwise" ability in ''TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness'' and ''TabletopGame/NewWorldOfDarkness'' [=RPGs=] gives the character street smarts, manifesting as gut instinct while on the streets and knowledge of the underground.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Spycraft}}'' has a streetwise skill, used to gain money from gambling, make contact with the black market to obtain gear, and bypass other skill checks by using bribery. This makes a highly-skilled streetwise character essentially the epitome of this trope, frequently able to cut the gordian knot of skill challenges designed to require a diverse array of various skills and training with a few hundred dollars and a single skill roll.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Rifts}}'', as well as other Palladium games, has the Rogue skill category, which includes skills like Streetwise, Find Contraband, and I.D. Undercover Agent. Also, the Vagabond CharacterClass has the exclusive skill "Eyeball a Fella," which works like the first item on the list in the trope description.
* The ''TabletopGame/{{Champions}}'' RPG uses the "Area Knowledge" skill to represent this.
* The Mongoose Publishing ''Series/BabylonFive'' RPG uses this as a subsection of the "Knowledge" skill-focusing on an area provides greater bonuses on related skills (knowing the current events on the backstreets of a city is easier to find out (and provides more thorough information on roll results) than the events of a whole planet, for example).
* This is an important attribute for any [[TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}} Shadowrunner]] who wishes to become the next legend in underground circles; they must learn the harsh aspects of [[TheStateless going without a [=SIN=]]], relying on [[BackAlleyDoctor Street Docs]], looking for reliable fixers, knowing who to trust, being wary of any [[MysteriousEmployer Mr. Johnson]] while accepting a run, treading carefully on any place run by gangs, a particular company, and/or security divisions like Lone Star, keeping an eye on their reputation to prevent them from being wanted on the list by Lone Star and any company who they decided to cross with, all up to using [[FutureSlang futuristic street slang]] in order to familiarize with the underground world. And that's just the handful of unwritten rules that a would-be runner of the shadows has to learn...

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Leon from ''VideoGame/FZero'' (more specifically, he made his debut in ''X'') is said to be not particularly bright. This is possibly {{justified|Trope}}, given that his [[DarkAndTroubledPast backstory]] involves in his home planet Zou being sacked by invaders (Leon himself [[ParentalAbandonment losing his parents]] and his [[EyeScream left eye]]) and still shakily recovering 12 years down the road, so Leon most likely never had the chance to receive a proper education. However, his natural instinct has made him ''very'' cunning. When the Arrows were vacationing on his planet, he showed superb handling of Super Arrow's King Meteor in his ''first'' foray with a F-Zero machine (impressing the couple to the point that they ''[[HappilyAdopted adopted him]]''). He had a slow start when he finally joined the F-Zero races, but caught on quick, resulting in a respectable track record over time ([[InformedAbility not that you'd know this]]; due to the poor A.I. he's been plagued with in ''GX'', he usually ends up '''dead last''').
* Makoto Nanaya of ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'' comes off as a bit of a {{ditz}} if you limit yourself to CT flashbacks, but throughout ''Continuum Shift'' she shows signs of this - ''especially'' in her own story, ''Slight Hope''. Reading others and determining intent? [[spoiler:She comes to trust Noel and Tsubaki quickly in ''Heart to Heart'', but she doesn't trust Hazama at all.]] Gut instincts? [[spoiler:Bang only needs mention a half-mask for her to identify Relius Clover and the dire nature of his involvement.]] Keeping level-headed? [[spoiler:Many of Terumi's trolling efforts are thrown off or reprised with inquiries.]] Flexible planning? [[spoiler:''Slight Hope'' is all about this, as she tries to save her friends whilst avoiding whatever unneeded attention she possibly can.]] Environmental awareness? [[spoiler:When Jin passes out in ''Decision'', she relies on her visit in ''Slight Hope'' and figures it's best to get him to Orient Town for medical attention. Also, in ''Friendship'' she has business with all her fixed encounters, with no unexpected surprises.]] Given the evidence on other fronts, she may have trouble realizing [[FridgeBrilliance this is a positive outcome]] [[FantasticRacism of her tumultuous childhood]].
** To show how big a difference Makoto's street smarts make in this story, consider this: [[spoiler:despite not having centuries' worth of experience in worldly affairs, Makoto has come closer ''than Rachel Alucard herself'' to [[OutGambitted knowingly decimating Terumi's plans for Noel]] in Arcade Mode, and is so far ''the only character period'' to [[SpannerInTheWorks irreparably derail his plans altogether]] in any Story Mode. And]] as a result of ''Slight Hope'' and ''Friendship'', whereas Yuuki Terumi will troll or torture anyone he comes across, even in ''Chronophantasma'' you can count the seconds he and Makoto are in the same area before he makes an attempt on her life.
** This extends to ''VideoGame/BlazBlueCrossTagBattle'' as well. The ''instant'' she and [[VideoGame/Persona4Arena Chie]] lock eyes, she recognizes that Chie is competent with assorted martial arts, and the two basically kick it off as best they can (perhaps a bit literally) before the System interferes. Likewise, [[WebAnimation/{{RWBY}} Blake]] barely manages to get past calling Makoto a [[LittleBitBeastly Faunus]] before she herself is identified as one with [[FantasticRacism the issues she endured]] to go with it.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick''
** Haley is generally the most Street Smart member of the Order. Roy wouldn't be so bad, if it weren't for his abysmal lack of a Sense Motive.
** On the villain's side, Xykon is far more Street Smart than Redcloak, which is one of the reasons the power dynamic goes the way it does even though Redcloak is in all other respects the smarter of the two.
*** This is a reference to a feature of D&D. Clerics and Wizards can 'know' as many spells as they like but have to prepare the ones they'll use a day in advance, making them strategic thinkers by default. Sorcerers only 'know' a few spells, but can cast them more often and without deciding how many of each in advance, giving them a tendency to use spells in creative/unorthodox ways and brute force problems more often than other casters.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''
** Sokka has an inclination for street smarts that is honed over time.
** Toph is also very Street Smart.
** And Azula dangerously so.
* Andy French in ''WesternAnimation/MissionHill'' is this in direct contrast to his brother who is a genius in school but completely socially inept. So much so that he often comes up with great, if a touch [[FamilyUnfriendlyAesop family-unfriendly]], advice and solutions to problems:
--> '''Kevin:''' I just don't understand how it happened. I was trying to be responsible.
--> '''Andy:''' Because sometimes a little ''ir''responsibility solves everything.