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 24 2013: Currently studying Global Cultures for A2 and often we look at cultures from local to global. I think sometimes I can be too skeptical and think its doom and gloom for all local cultures due to the globalisation of certain culture clusters - sped up by technological leaps and economic power. But like a few comments here, what is 'local'? I immediately think of the close physical vicinity - a city, a town - but even then those consist of multiple cultures living side by side.

    I live in Slough, a town known for it's diversity due to it's history of factories and offices offering migrants livelihoods, resulting in enclaves. The local culture here is the fact that it is multicultural (if that makes sense...) Living here for most of my life, it's safe to say we're used to seeing shops shoot up aimed for the assimilating cultures, a new market. An example is increasing Polish migrants due to the accession in 2004 has led to shops and services introduce to satisfy growing Polish market.

    The point is culture is dynamic, always changing due to politics, society etc. and even more so with transportation causing space-time compression. Some cultures might have more influences, such as 'Americanisation' - sometimes seen negatively causing culture erosion through culture hybrids, mixing old traditions with new ideas. Another view is that it is heading to a unipolar world.

    However, I believed that stronger cultures do have great spatial influence but it dilutes as it is globally spread, and so does their power. Local cultures are changed from the outside by these powering cultures, but wasn't it changing from the inside too? This is more evident in cultures receptive to change - like Manila's westernised culture through televised showbiz, TV, internet etc. The youth wanted to have a unique identity, so they take from what they see. Culture is not lost, just ever-changing, adapting to the people. Locals have the power to change their culture more than the outside players.

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