TED Conversations

Closing Statement from Daniel Raven-Ellison

Thank you TED community for taking the time to join our conversation. I have been fascinated by the diverse range of contributions that have been made. The stories that have been shared are particularly powerful, with examples of how globalisation is impacting on the communities that we live in, visit and influence.

What is clear is that many of us are working from very different definitions of what 'local' means. Ronald Estrada describes local as "minimal, ecological, and symbiotic" while Iain Ellwood says it is more of "a state of mind not a geographic destination". This idea links well to Dustin Smith's suggestion that technology "changes who we spend time with, and allows us to choose "our own local".

The diversity of definitions of 'local' goes a long way to explain why we have so many different predictions about the future. Steve Knight had the most radical prediction, suggesting that personal air travel "will allow people to re-populate currently remote and unpopulated areas of the world". Pabitra Mukhopadhyay, Dorian Knus and many others share our concern that global forces are damaging local places and raise valid concerns for the future. These worries are met by many points that express the advantages of globalisation, including one by David Rogers who asks "Is the advantage of globalisation the ability to start a conversation anywhere in the world around common experiences?"

There have been a number of engaging solutions, including ways for tourists, travel companies and host communities to act more responsibly and sustainably. The common areas here appear to be high quality research, learning, education, empowerment and participation. Scan through to find some real gems.

Finally, thank you to InterContinental Hotels & Resorts for sponsoring this conversation. This specific discussion is closed, but you can follow the "Future of Local" project via Twitter on #FutureOfLocal. And we'll begin a new conversation on TED.com in the coming weeks.

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    Feb 22 2013: Local infers an awareness so implicit that a level of comfort is felt by just knowing what is around you. Local and home are somewhat synonymous. The feeling one has when returning to the "neighborhood" after being gone for a while also defines local. Very few people stray far from where they grow up due to the comfort and security in knowing the community (local). With these points to ponder of local, I would say the impact of travel and the globalization of goods will expand what we know as "local" based on what we see as familiar and comforting in the surroundings. Mom and Pop shops have fallen to the chains and boutiques. Being able to experience or see a McDonalds or Starbucks abroad will give comfort to someone who is far from home by just seeing a familiar sight, smell or taste. The local limits will surely swell and expand as more people realize there is familiarity on the road.

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