Livin’ La Vida Local

Last week in class, we focused on the concept of local- designing locally, producing locally, shopping locally. The video that we watched in class had many ongoing themes, one of which was creating jobs locally, which is beneficial to the local place. Not only does it help the local community’s economy by keeping the money circulating within the community but it also is beneficial to the people that live in that community. One of the major takeaways I had from this video was the social impact that being “local” has. Most of the people who were involved in these local businesses expressed how important it was to help others and for people to cooperate and work together in order to be successful.

In the reading by Fletcher and Grose, it talks about ‘designing for a sense of place’. This is basically when the designer draws inspiration from the region in which they live, and they implement local materials, colors, and traditions into their design. The point is to celebrate diversity and difference and to value the people and the place as well as commerce.

Two years ago, I lived in Austin, Texas for the summer. If you’ve ever been to Austin, you know that they are all about being local and shopping local. Basically anywhere that I went, there was something about ‘local’. A ton of restaurants there have menus full of dishes using all local ingredients and locally-raised chicken, or pork, or whatever. A majority of the clothing boutiques that I went into had items for sale that were made in Austin by local designers. I noticed that Austin is also a place that is very proud of it’s Austin culture and history, and it is displayed almost everywhere you go in the city. I ran into countless vendors on the street that were selling little trinkets such as handcrafted jewelry or handmade coasters that had popular scenes of the city painted on them. Smaller, locally-owned businesses are also extremely prevalent in Austin as well as co-ops everywhere. It is clear that Austin is one of the few cities that definitely has the ‘local’ thing down. I feel that if this attitude of keeping things local spreads to other towns and cities, it would be extremely beneficial for the cities as well as the people that live and work in them.

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