I am offering a new course this summer on local economies. This course has given me a chance to puzzle through the paradox that confronted me after the completion of Brew to Bikes, that is, what does it mean to have a locally distinct economy in a globalizing world. The course has taken me into the critical-economic geography literature where this questions has gained considerable attention over the last decade. Here is the abstract from the syllabus.
Going Local: Economic Development and Place Distinctiveness
USP 410/510 Summer 2012 Mon-Thur: 2:15- 4:35 URBN 311
Charles Heying, Ph.D.
This course explores the importance of place distinctiveness, self-reliance, and DIY innovation in the economic development of cities and regions. While city leaders pursue high tech, amenity, and relocation incentives to entice new business development, people at the grass roots are developing alternative strategies that build on the unique qualities of place and the willingness of locals to organize and invest in each other. We examine the relevance of these spaces of resistance to what is assumed is the inevitable globalization of economic activity.
Full text here Going Local Syllabus
Not all is cool in artisan land. Recent article by Nicole Cohen exams the downside of artisan work in Cultural Work as a Site of Struggle: Freelancers and Exploitation
I had an interesting visit with Sean Benesh, an incoming Ph.D student, about changes in contemporary Christian religious ministry. Sean has a doctorate in divinity and is a church planter (as I understand that, it is someone who starts new churches and serves as a consultant to help others do so.) Sean also teaches a course at a local seminary and I learned that Brew to Bikes: Portland’s Artisan Economy is one of the required texts in his course. Apparently, there is a movement toward creating small neighborhood artisan churches that focus on concerns of urban neighborhoods and share many of the values of sustainable economies described in the book. This is a significant shift away from the suburban mega-churches of the past. At a recent conference in Seattle, Sean led a breakout session on The Walkable Church. To learn more about this movement, check out The Parish Collective.
Congratulations to Shaun Huston for his just completed film Comic Book City, Portland, Oregon USA. Huston is associate professor in the department of geography and program in film studies at Western Oregon University (Monmouth, Oregon). In his words “the film is an exploration of the connections between people and place, and, particularly of the qualities that make Portland a vital center for comics writers and artists.” I am expecting my complimentary copy soon and according to Shaun the segment in which I appear “is done in a cartoon-style that approximates interpolated rotoscoping, where artists draw over live figures.” Link here to Huston’ s production blog to learn more about the film and where it will be showing.