a case for local

3 minute read

TLDR: Local is better than global


I’m at one of those transitional stages in life where I’ve been thinking about how I want my life to look like.

It has largely come down to being embedded deeply in a community. Mormon but without being mormon

Modernity


What typically happens as you get older is that everyone distances themselves. Either due to career or spouse. We live in atomised societies. For most people : they take the car everywhere instead of walking.

We barely know our neighbours. We are stuck in long commutes due to necessity. Family don’t live nearby, meaning that couples are raising their child alone without grandparents, aunts or uncles. Our friends don’t live nearby. The social fabric is coming apart at the seams.

This is largely out of people’s control for a few different reasons: loss of large families, travelling for work, rise of secularism, financial necessity. Probably many others

This is more common in the individualistic Western world, but is becoming more common in Eastern societies too.

Hyperlocalism

I think back to when my Mother was a child. She was surrounded by such a large family and community. Every time we would visit India, she would know everyone and I would be frustrated that we had to meet so many people. She was deeply embedded in a community, growing up in the same location, large family, large set of friends. I could tell she acutely felt that loss when she moved to the UK. Living like this is becoming rare in the West.

As a teenager, I had this utopian vision that all my close contacts would be living on the same street, I would walk to work, I would frequent the same cafe, gym etc. I would have the same barber for many years. A ‘hyper local’ environment.

Why is this better?

Why have this mentality? This goes back to my previous post on Friendship and Relationships. I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot.

All the real gains in life are from compound interest. By spending more time with the same people, you develop deeper relationships. Buying your own house is better than renting and moving often. Running into the same people is better than being surrounded by strangers. Walking is better than driving. Working with the same people in your job, is better than working with people who rotate around every 4 months. Having purposeful work is better than meaningless work.

How to achieve this

In my mid 20’s : I think working towards this is possible. A few thoughts :

  • Live in such a location where you can walk- Avoid ‘urban sprawl’. Ideas coming to mind : Cambridge, Hitchin, Certain areas of London
  • Live near family
  • Live near friends
  • Live in a place long term
  • Live near work
  • Live in green environments
  • Have a common ‘third space’ that isn’t work or home e.g. gym, yoga, coffee store- where you are a ‘regular’
  • Have a large family

This isn’t possible for many due to finances, work, career, and spouse/partner. But I think it is possible for current you.

Conclusion:

I want to grow old doing meaningful work, surrounded by long term relationships, and contributing to a community. Embed yourself in a community


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