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Glocal LA: A County’s Story about its Identity

Assigning a particular identity to Los Angeles County can be challenging. With more than two hundred languages and cultures co-existing in this part of the world, LA belongs to those who sustain it and help create opportunities for its socio-economic development.

Southern California's weather, famous Hollywood, and its people make LA County an attractive hub for almost everyone around the globe. Like other populous regions, Los Angeles is clogged with climate-damaging traffic, and sadly, many people continue to experience homelessness, above all, in the City of Los Angeles.

Despite the challenges, Los Angeles County's diverse communities help create opportunities for the industries that thrive and in turn create jobs for the region's residents.

LA County's economic identity is about growing businesses into successful local brands that have the potential of competing favorably in the global market. By the same token, attracting foreign companies with ambitions of U.S. market expansion, which strengthen the local economy and create more opportunities for workers, across many verticals.

Los Angeles County’s diversity has historically transformed the region's culture and economic landscape into GloCal giants, and this is how it came about its diverse populace.

A Brief History of Los Angeles County

According to the official website of Los Angeles County the geographical region that is the present-day Los Angeles County was first inhabited by small groups of Native Americans, long before Gasper de Portola and a group of European missionaries touched down at the banks of the Los Angeles River in 1769. It was not until the early 1800s that English-speaking inhabitants began to settle in Los Angeles.

Spain ruled the entire state of California until 1822, when Mexico took over the jurisdiction and facilitated more trade with the United States. Because the coast of California allowed for trading, by the 1840s, Los Angeles became the biggest town in Southern California. After the war ended, in 1848 California (LA included) were added to the American territory.

The California Gold Rush between the 1850s and 1860s saw more people (who had come to California in search of gold) settling in the area. From 1850 to 1865, the United States was troubled by the Civil War, and when it ended, many people had migrated to Los Angeles.

The nature of the immigration to Los Angeles was such that the Spanish-speaking and Indian indigenes, the Anglo-American, and their African slaves were joined by the French, Basques, Mexicans, Chinese, and Germans in the 1850s. By the 1930s, some East European Jews, the Japanese, Russians, and Chinese had come to settle in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles and the territories surrounding it were built by immigrants. The diverse interactions have shaped the County’s cultural, economic, and social identity ever since.

The Concept of Glocalization

Glocalization relates to cultural identity. According to professor Craig Stroupe from the University of Minnesota, glocalization is a historical process that involves localities developing direct economic and cultural relationships with the global system through the use of information technology and going around national government and markets. This definition hints that glocalization emanates from the interaction of different cultures.

A simpler definition of glocalization is that adopted for businesses, which is where the concept is best applied. This definition explains that the term is a juxtaposition of globalization and localization. Hence, it entails the adaptation of a local market’s product to a foreign market or its culture.

How Glocalization Applies to Los Angeles County

The glocalization of Los Angeles happens on the economic, educational, and community organization levels. Educationally, diversity in the classroom requires a global resource of learning that is adapted to the local needs in order to produce world-class graduates.

Economically, successful local businesses can go global and run franchises in foreign countries, while meeting the needs of those local communities . Hollywood is currently LA’s most prominent GloCal brand, serving as an entertainment beacon that tells all stories.

On the community organization level, glocalization can be applied through the concept of functional communities that are organized to take direct actions that meet their local needs, while solving problems that are also part of the global ecosystem. Brand LA and many other nonprofit organizations are an example of the region's glocalization.

The diverse culture of Los Angeles County is indeed a strength that can be harnessed to shape all aspects of the County’s future. This is the key ingredient, upon which the County can go GloCal and extend its brand and identity to the rest of the world.

Brand LA | Editorial Team


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