David Brooks, the respected New York Times opinion columnist has defined localism like so:
“Localism is the belief that power should be wielded as much as possible at the neighborhood, city and state levels. Localism is thriving — as a philosophy and a way of doing things — because the national government is dysfunctional while many towns are reviving. Politicians in Washington are miserable, hurling ideological abstractions at one another, but mayors and governors are fulfilled, producing tangible results.
Localism is also thriving these days because many cities have more coherent identities than the nation as a whole. It is thriving because while national politics takes place through the filter of the media circus, local politics by and large does not. It is thriving because we’re in an era of low social trust. People really have faith only in the relationships right around them, the change agents who are right on the ground.”
With this in mind, some 18 opinion leaders, thought leaders, and practitioners met in October, 2018 in Los Angeles to discuss localism and how it expressed itself in their community.
What follows is a practical recap of what was discussed and how to take action on what we learned.