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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  • rach k

    • +1
    Mar 6 2013: 'Local' for a place or culture would mean its specific characteristics and identity same as a human sense of identity. Taking the analogy further, though brought up in a small distant town in India, I have travelled and lived around the world for more than a decade now. Has the introduction to other cultures changed me? (or any of the many expats we meet?) Do people start living on McDs when they migrate to the states? Probably not. On the contraty, a comparision and conscious rumination of identity actually reinforces some of the rooted belief while giving the strength to give-up superficial customs.
    That too would be the future of Local - in the heat of global competition, sushis and risottos, espaniol and tamil, pandas and elephants of the world might seem vulnerable, but in time will surely, consciously and confidently reinvent themselves to re-establish the local.
    Even Starbucks is endeavouring to reflect local architecture and customs in its interiors. A recent McDs announced near a piligrim site in India will be all veg. Creatives all across the globe are taking inspiration from local ways for innovative solutions.
    There are many challenges in the face of it. But the Potential of Local is that it can define Global and not vice versa.

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