Get localIf you want to change the world the best place to start might be in your own backyard. This week’s Link Deck is devoted to thinking and acting locally.

If you’ve got a great example of innovation happening locally, we’d love to hear from you on twitter or facebook.

Local Councils are more innovative than you might think

The 2014 Local Council Award finalists winners are going to be announced over the next couple of months but here’s a selection from the 2013 winners book:

  • East Arnhem Shire Council’s iStories: is a digital arts project that enables Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people to create, produce and use context-specific bilingual literacy materials to digitalize stories of times past.
  • Townsville City Council transforming Magnetic Island into a Solar City.
  • The Safer Motorcycle Routes project –  a joint initiative of 3 Councils from the NSW Hunter Region. The project aimed to lessen the motorcycle crashes on recreational routes through the region, where active motorcycle road users were key participants in designing the approach and solutions in collaboration with professionals.
  • City of Playford, SA program ‘Juggernaut’: A project run by Playford youth who teach BMX, Scooter and Skateboard safety and skills to young people, presenting to both students and adults.

The newest member of The Social Deck team works from Byron Bay, where she’s noticed that, not only are they lucky enough to have amazing festivals like Splendour in the Grass and Bluesfest, and incredibly beautiful surf beaches – but also a pretty innovative local council. Over the past year or so, the Byron Shire Council got rid of the smell of its tip and earned $150,000 from carbon credits, has recycled 10 tonnes of e-waste (e.g. phones, laptops, TV’s) each month, provided free buses into town during the peak summer period, produced a hip hop video to try to reduce alcohol related violence, and encouraged the local community to contribute to their coastal management plan.

The great thing about local councils is that they’re much more accessible to local citizens – here’s 9 ideas to tell your Mayor about.

Speaking of Mayors, watch this charming TED talk from the Mayor of Oklahoma City on how he helped an obese town lose a million pounds.

Local people tackling local problems (and just maybe changing the world)

A group of surfers, beach lovers and a marine biologist decided they wanted to clean up their local beach. They thought, “what if everybody who visited the beach took three pieces of rubbish with them”? Take 3 was born locally and is now going global.

3 stories of local social entrepreneurship.

Two young scientists fix a local (and global) problem using local bacteria to break down plastics.

The future of cities

A couple of interesting essays on the future of cities from Leo Hollis over at Aeon Magazine: Cities belong to us and Cities thrive when public space is really public.

Speaking of public spaces, when was the last time you thought deeply about parking spaces… or pedestrian crossings in your city?

The city of Chicago is s finding all kinds of ways to use Twitter data for public safety.

More than 8 million people are crowded together to live in New York City. What makes it possible?

And what would you do if your cities economy collapsed and you had to completely rebuild it?