Cosmopolitan Localism: The Planetary Networking of Everyday Life in Place

How do we envision sustainable long-term futures? And how do we guide actions to realize these visions? Kossoff proposes that the nascent concept of cosmopolitan localism needs further development. Globalization is at the root of many “wicked” problems, but to only turn to localism is simplistic. While many theorists suggest a future place-based lifestyle, we also need to consider the advantages of being networked at multiple scales, from households to neighbourhoods, cities, regions and the planet. Cosmopolitan localism, Kossoff suggests, should advocate for self-organization at the local level but should also try to be networked. By developing and engaging in a local network we build local resilience, which facilitates reinhabitation. A networked society is a prerequisite. SLOC communities (Small Local Open Connected communities proposed by Ezio Manzini in the 2010s) share knowledge and resources. SLOC communities develop self-managed economies “wherein manufacturing and agricultural production would be largely for local consumption” (58). Communities are nodes rather than centers of production separated by great distances. Everyday needs should be satisfied by local communities and be tailored toward specific cultures and ecosystems. Individual actions can support local networks, e.g., eating at a local restaurant that gets their produce from a local farmer, who employs local workers. Engaging with the local network creates a decentralized and non-hierarchical organized system resulting in social, economic, and political power that is distributed.

Kossoff, Gideon. 2019. “Cosmopolitan Localism: The Planetary Networking of Everyday Life in Place.” Cuadernos Del Centro de Estudios de Diseño y Comunicación, no. 73: 51-66.

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