Web Seminar: “Why the local economy is a big deal — and what the ‘Totness & District: Local Economic Blueprint’ tells us about it” (Kazuhiko Ota, Project Researcher)

FEAST HQ Report, Seminar & Workshop, WG2

I organized a web seminar (or webinar) entitled “Why the local economy is a big deal — and what the ‘Totness & District: Local Economic Blueprint’ tells us about it” in the evening of the 27th of June. At this webinar, I summarized some of the interesting and important points from “Totnes & District: Local Economic Blueprint,” a summary report by the REconomy Centre Totness, a citizens’ group in Transition Town of Totness, following “the leaky bucket theory”.

The leaky bucket theory compares a local economy as a bucket and money as the water in the bucket. Water is poured into a bucket, which represents sales of items and/or services to the outside of your own local economy, the travelers from other regions spending money for accommodation and others, receiving funding and so forth. However, a hole in the bucket causes the water leakage, which represents buying items/services from other regions, placing an order to a construction company located outside of your local economy. So, let’s just put your imagination to work here! If a hole is smaller, it would require less amount of water to be topped up to maintain a sufficient amount of water. Nonetheless, it should be emphasized here that it is not the ultimate goal to close the hole in the bucket, in other words, to achieve a complete self-sufficiency within the local economy. This model rather aims at building a mutually interdependent relationship based on self-sufficiency with other buckets or areas – whether they are small or big.

What makes “Totness & District: Local Economic Blueprint” particularly outstanding and interesting is that it exhibits the methodology of how we can find out a hole in the bucket or local economy and various cases according to four different themes: 1) Food and drink, 2) Making our homes energy efficient, 3) Developing renewable energy, and 4) Care and health.

This webinar was rather introductory, but the following series could further look into the details of the report. During the seminar, Regional Economy and Society Analyzing System or RESAS came up in discussion as a tool to access “a hole in a bucket”. RESAS is a visualization system for so-called big data such as industry structure, demographics etc operated by Headquarter for Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economy of the Cabinet Office. It could be interesting to try out RESAS focusing on food in Kyoto City and see how usable it is. If you have a good idea for the next webinar, please contact Kazuhiko Ota, FEAST Project Researcher, at otakazu@chikyu.ac.jp. Once confirmed, the details will be announced on FEAST Project’s Facebook page, this blog etc.

Relevant Article: Kaori Kai “Does your money circulate within your locality? A way to retrieve local economy by fixing leakage: A case study in Shimokawa Town, Hokkaido” (Tentative English title: Japanese only)

(Translated by Yuko K.)