Our process was built around a convening of ~20 community leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, mostly drawn from the leadership of civic institutions … some new, old … in and around Los Angeles. To spur discussion, we invited James and Deb Fallows, authors of the national bestseller Our Town, to speak to us about what the learned as they traveled on a small prop plane to cities and towns in the heartland of the United States.

We began our discussion the evening before so that we could include thoughts from a few people unable to make the actual convening. On the day of the convening, our process involved two moderated sessions:

  1. Session 1 used an economic and political lens.
  2. Session 2 used a cultural and civic lens.

Both sessions entailed a lively discussion encompassing stories from participants covering projects they have done and what they have learned. As they were speaking, we pulled out the themes as fodder for our afternoon brainstorm. We asked, what insights did we uncover that could provide an agenda for cities looking to make a difference at the local level? We then narrowed down the ideas to eight initiatives.


This convening and the content provided in this report would not have been possible without the support of the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy (CCLP). We want to particularly call out and thank two individuals for their help in making the convening on Localism possible: Geoffrey Cowan, Annenberg Family Chair in Communication Leadership and Director of CCLP, and Brianna Johnson, Junior Fellow at CCLP.

Thanks also to the Maker City Project, Inc. and Omeed Manocheri and Paige Dunn-Rankin for providing graphic and editorial support, respectively.

this project developed in collaboration with