Monday, June 1, 2009

The un-development of towns and Towns Rethink Self-Reliance as Finances Worsen

In the current Signs of the Times we have focused upon local solutions that are towns and parts of larger cities taking collective action to form new, local, economies and develop a sense of community. Local farmers join in with city folk eager for fresh vegetables and fruit, street corners develop as a place to meet, talk and maybe swap a book or children’s toys. Neighbors turning their yards into gardens and swapping or selling produce and eggs to one another.

This Signs of the Times we present two other ways of saving local areas. In Sweden, a town replaces industrial production with technology and research. From being a huge producer of textile products to a focus on design and research, the city of BorĂ¥s has slowly evolved to a city that has moved from textiles to woven goods. Instead of sheeting and other house hold items, the local research center has focused upon other woven products that have increased applications, like stronger woven materials for bulletproof vests, materials that block the sun or deliver vitamins. In other words, they are developing tomorrow’s products for totally new markets while using knowledge of woven products that has existed in the workforce for generations.

The other survival method comes from the United States where the concept of dissolution is being discussed. When small towns and villages become in able to meet their legal commitments of policing, firefighting, health or education services, the citizens are inadvertently punished. But if the next largest authority agrees to take them in and provide those services in exchange for their taxes, the problem may be solved. However, finding the right authority to take in these citizens may not be easy. There are surely other solutions to the problems small towns are facing today, which ones will your town choose or create?

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