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The New Localism: Collaborative Governance, Network Power

In recent years, awareness of these consequences of modern economic and technological change has grown enormously. Leading thinkers in many different fields of thought and action have begun innovating new ways to address the problems caused by modern civilization while preserving the benefits. One of the most striking areas of the new awareness and innovation concerns the new attention being given to localism. There is a new and growing concern with cultivating local power and attachments – not to replace modern systems and achievements – but to supplement them and restore balance to a world thrown out of kilter.   [and whole-systems thinking, collaborative governance, network power] The development of local power has become a necessity to balance the astonishing development of global power, and restore human values to the world so that we can enjoy the achievements of technology in a way that is more harmonious with the needs of humanity and the planet. New attention is being directed to cultivating local relationships, building community, developing local economic self-sufficiency and security, and regaining a voice for ordinary citizens in shaping their world, and – instead of simply putting government “in charge” - finding collaborative solutions and partnerships between government, businesses and communities that better satisfy the diversity of needs and perspectives, are more attuned to the differences of local communities. 

On the one side, communities and individuals need to come together as wholes to learn the skills and enjoy the benefits of real democracy, which will enrich individual lives with added meaning and purpose, and do the work necessary to harmonize the interests of our divided and fragmented society.

On the other side, these communities need to come into regular dialogue with political and business representatives so that individuals and communities around the world can take co-ordinated action to address our increasingly menacing global issues, including resource-depletion, global energy, joblessness and war.

It’s here, in rebuilding grassroots communities and connecting them with higher levels of government, that NAN is doing its work. NAN’s tools and methodologies, which are capable of involving thousands of highly-diverse people in collaborative decision-making, are designed to activate local communities and organizations and bring them into collaborative partnership with all levels of government.

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There are reasons that the leading thinkers on democracy from ancient times to the Revolutionary era had always held that democracy was only possible in small communities on a human scale.