Franz Nahrada on global villages

Franz Nahrada is one of the persons I admire most in the world, and he has been tirelessly working for others, most of his efforts going to establishing Global Villages that combine relocalized production with global connections. At this point he is facing heart surgery and I wish him the very best for a recovery.

Here is an important call to action he formulated recently:

“Recently somebody posted the link on villageforum a very kin approach to Global Villages, promoted by Claude Lewenz in New Zealand.

They published an exciting book, in which there is also a small chapter about wealth, and I find the following quote so compelling and powerful that I post it to Globalvillages:

“Now, early in this new millennium we are experiencing another shift in technology, one in which intelligent energy becomes dominant. In this new era, matter matters less.”

“This human intelligence is cumulative. Once a new tool is invented, like Computer Assisted Design, it becomes part of the global asset base. The reason Bill Gates became so rich is that he was able to charge an old technology price (price per box) for new technology product (packaged intelligence). When we make the transition to this new era, what will be the new definition of wealth? Will it still be having more possessions?

Will it be having more power over others? Will it be having more money than others? Perhaps not. If there is an emerging theme among those who are benefiting most from this new technology it appears to be that what they value most is Quality of Life. Quality of Life is based on biological principles that simply say that for any part to be healthy, all parts must be healthy. In other words, I cannot be rich if my neighbour is poor and, vwith global communication and movement, the poorest person in the world is
my neighbour.”


Wow! could somebody say it any better? It reminds me much of Michel Bauwens attemts to redefine the nature of wealth. And the “How to build a Village” book at first glance is so beautiful and so differentiated in its approach and its answer, it might well become a bible for our movement Its much of the globalvillages book I wanted to write myself and I am glad such work was done allready. I will purchase it and just look for missing parts. As one could expect, the book is inspired by Christopher Alexanders
pattern language and it really is maybe the first comprehensive approach on village patterns.

I think efforts should be made to increase the dialogue and maybe even merge the visions. As there is increasing likeliness that I personally will go through a heart surgery, I cannot lead the efforts for some time, but its a critical time and I call you all to team up for more structuring and cooperation to make things happen. And this might be rewarded. As I am lying here in a hospital in Vienna, I had the privilege to have discussions people involved in the construction industry in Dubai, and present the Gloibalvillages idea to them. And there was a lot of sincere recognition that the current patterns of development are highly unsustainable, while Globalvillages is a powerful and compelling vision to the world that holds the most necessary patterns in one coherent approach.

Let us use villageforum and differentiate on patterns, while integrating the vision.

I quote from their site:

“The Village Forum provides several services:

The Village Forum connects people who want to live in a Village with people who want to sponsor a particular Village. People who want to live in a Village register here. People and organisations who want to sponsor the building of a Village register here and meet the people who want to live in their Village through our introduction and ongoing support.

The Village Forum articulates the ideas. It challenges 50 years of conventional wisdom that failed to deliver on its promise. People presume it is a given that we must organise our habitat around the necessity to drive from one place to another. Therefore, our industries scramble to invent more efficient cars, find biofuel replacement for petroleum and move to mass transit system. The Village Forum says its easier, healthier, cheaper and more interesting to walk — but only if we put the destinations of daily life within walking distance (10 minutes or less). Having said that, the prime reason for Villages is not carbon credits; it’s about
creating a wonderful, fulfilling-for-a-lifetime, quality of life that happens to tread lightly on earth.

The Village Forum provides direction for key influencers and decision makers. This includes public meetings intended not only to transmit the ideas through presentation and books, but then to organise local Village Circles — a group of interested people prepared to advocate for building a Village in their region.

The Village Forum intends to seek out investors and developers to move into a direct-action mode. Not just to advise, but to find land, attract future residents and get the Villages built. If we are to have any real effect on humanity’s future, thousands of Villages need to be built. In England, Prime Minister Gordon Brown says he wants 3 million new homes by 2020. That would be about 400 Villages, should his government adopt the Village model. And they should.

England was a poor nation after World War II, and it did not make the switch to the American car-based planning model until the Thatcher government. Families felt wealthier being able to own a couple of nice cars, but the roading system could not cope, and being an ancient and settled land, they couldn’t just make lots more roads. Instead the roads clogged up. England has some of the better attempts at domesticating the car, most notably Prince Charles’ village of Poundbury, but the Village Forum goes further. No cars within the Village walls, and focus heavily on integrating workplaces for business as a core part of the plan so the Village has its own robust and diverse local economy.

To get the idea, look at the banner photograph montage, above. First, a pedestrian street about 6 feet (2 metres) wide; people travel from the ends of the earth to walk there because the feeling is so wonderful, the scale so human. Next a group of people engaged in dialogue on an Italian plaza. No cars allowed in the centre of that town, they met on foot and on bicycle. No appointment needed. Third, it’s about slow food. Contract with regional farmers to grow local, organic, flavourful and healthy foods. The farmers have a guaranteed market that is not going to move away. Finally, the image of a young child, walking alone, perfectly safe.”


and, one could add here, its also about the new place of accessing knowledge and the global mind which is the source of wealth and quality of life for the community!!

Our specialty as Globalvillages could become to conceptualize that place within villages, make it work within the given requirements of a totally new lifestyle and different values and link them together globally – with already proven tools of cooperation like VideoBridge, Wikis etc. and also totally new ones to invernt and to empower!

An important step is to support the communication between people who want to live in a village, have them find each other and structure in the way that gives most room to the realisation of common values.

This was a message from Franz Nahrada, Globally Integrated Village Environment (GIVE)

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