Movement of the Day: GIVE, the global villages movement

GIVE aims for Globally Integrated Village Environments, and is an initiative by Franz Nahrada to promote the expansion of Global Villages

Here below, Franz explains its sevens strategic imperatives:

“Our seven themes in detail:

(1) Global Villegiatura – Trans Market Economies

“In a time when fewer and fewer productive industries supply the global markets with the full range of industrial basic goods, we have to understand that it is not feasible any more to make it the general rule of behaviour to export and sell values, lifestyles, commodities and ideologies to survive. We are far too many and too productive to do business as usual and waste our wealth in warfare economies. (We see the historical example of Venice which was a maritime trader nation, but vigourously engaged in land cultivation when it lost its sea power. The term “Villegiatura” was coined for the rediscovery of the hinterland, a cultural revolution into beauty and thriving cultural landscapes, and serves as a reference model for a global change nowadays.

Rather than the further growth of already unliveable cities, we foresee the emergence of more and more inside-looking communities, who – with the help of decentralizing technologies – build their own self-sustaining microcosms. They seek to combine the best and most apposite buildings blocks available in the shared knowledge and experiences of humanity across the continents and ages. This turns into new experience for others. A fractal, holotopic world is emerging within the broad planetary land mass, heralded by the solar revolution, with more and more places that become the passion of people because their potential goes far beyond traditional boundaries. Within the virtual presence of the whole world and their cascading “paying forward” support, each place can overcome many of its limitations by climate, geography and historical factors. Global cultures offer an incredible array of choices for different development models, allowing people to develop collective individualities. It is in the best interest of all to make this a universal and inclusive development pathway. By filling needs of others, we enhance their capacities to contribute.

GIVE is active in developing global politics towards this type of “cooperative – individualistic” community development. We even work with large towns and large institutions to fractalize within and also acknowledge the opportunity for “mothercities” and “hubs” to thrive on the support requirements for the Global Villegiatura. Like the personal computer grew individual capacities, the next stage of the prosumer revolution lies in delivering tools and services to improve community capacities.”

(2) Global Village Learning Centers and Maker Spaces

Education is at the center of what we do, but it can be only defined meaningfully in a context of a community goal. On one side we study local education and resource centers with tools and content to join forces globally improving their local scope. On the other side these centers are also centers of community innovation, of meaningful encounters for locals and guests, they are places of self – definition and self – improvement.

We believe more and more technologies will increasingly mirror these values, allow us to turn the designs and schemes that we learned about and developed together in the “learning field” into tangible realities. Therefore it is important not to stay “bookworms”, but to know how we do best combine the power of learning and making; how spaces that realize dreams look like; what is their possible scope.

GIVE is therefore studying the many ways to boost the potential of local learning institutions, teach people to become entrepreneurial and cooperative, reclaim the skills that their grandfathers and grandmothers still had – and combine this with the latest in automation and production technologies. We study urban and rural models of different scope and specialisation. We even study historical examples of study and realisation like monasteries and see what might be retrieved and reactualized from these forms of learning spaces.

(3) High Tech Ecologies and Upcycling Economies

The goodbye to warfare economies means an increasing turn to local cycles, which requires interdisciplinary work with those who study the human societies metabolism with nature. The Metabolism of Global Villages is a complex one, requiring hundreds and thousands of processes, requiring new inventions and technologies and the revival of old knowledge.

GIVE is very interested in cradle to cradle schemes, renewable resources and the possibility to create technologies that use non-toxic materials – that even become digested by the metabolism itself. We see natures cycles and nodes as a model for high technology, and we embrace the embedding of natural principles by sophisticated and complex human artefacts.

We distinguish Global Villages from the broader movement of Ecovillages by the simple notion that we might need more, not less technology to enable humans to fully cooperate with nature. GIVE aims at jointly with others creating innovation centers for advanced village technologies to be used appropriated to local cirumstances.

(4) Virtual University of the Villages and Open Source Culture

The networking of learning villages will eventually create wealth and growth superior to what the industrial age has delivered by the sheer multiplication and miniaturisation of productive capacities. In our view, it cannot be built on so-called intellectual property, but by a culture of sharing and joining pieces and bits of disrupted knowledge to integrated and holistic “pattern poems”. Therefore our next research goal is to find out about effective knowledge cooperation.

GIVE has been a partner in calling for the first Village Innovation Talk, a virtual event simultaneously connecting six villages in 6 different states of 2 countries. We also initiated the first Vienna Open Source Hardware Summit in May 2013. We advocate shared tasks and division of specialised practise, when it comes to improvements and experiments. Villages can be theme villages and share their findings with others. Thus a virtual university of the villages will emerge, a shared learning platform that connects local learning places and will be their lifeblood.

(5) Community Observatory and Networking

The arrival of a new societal pattern never happens simultaneously; we see “islands of progress” where – mostly as a result of visionary individuals – social life starts to take a different direction. Today, we see the advent of Global Villages by many different types of local developments like Ecovillages, Cohousing, Coworking, Intergenerational Villages, Theme Villages, we see dedicated networks like Transition Towns and others emerging.

GIVE aims to build up a reference system of existing and planned projects, be it local or thematic, or at least have a good understanding of the best references available. We started a global community back in 1997 called the “Global Villages Network” that we want to become increasingly active in connecting good practises, developing strategic initiatives and publically advocating Global Villages ideas. The backbone is thorough research on the state of the Global Villegiatura.

(6) Community Architecture and Optimum Health

Maybe one of the greatest theoretical breakthroughs of our time is Christopher Alexanders “Pattern Language”. Patterns are recursive structures that we use in everyday life and which support and enable the vitality of everything we do. Patterns are the obvious or less obvious solutions to problems – which can be researched, identified and taught. Patterns bridge theory and practise, they allow us to include non – experts in shaping our world. Patterns span from architecture to computing, and yet pattern theory is still at the beginnings.

GIVE uses pattern theory and methodology to organize knowledge and guide research. Whilst Alexander was referring to cities, we seek for optimun patterns of smaller forms of settlement. We seek for helpful and balancing patterns in the relationship of man and nature; we seek for empowering patterns in social life. We are convinced that there are universal laws of optimization and yet a large degree of human freedom and inventiveness at the same time. The ultimate purpose of our work on villages is in achieving health and happiness. We think that finding the organic relations between man and environment is the key to both.

(7) Acting locally, thinking globally

Organizing our life more centered about the local as the stage where the global just appears as mutual support (and not as an empire) will require a lot of changes in human behaviour and values; on the other side, it will give people an unprecedented freedom to shape particular value systems that only need to work in particular local settings. Instead of homogenous industrial societies we will find a very colorful diversity of lifestyles and an environment fostering inventiveness and creativity. Yet this cultural diversity is embedded in a system of relations and the tendency to even manage global commons by dedicated communities.
GIVE is seeking to find patterns that foster at the same time global intercultural cooperation and local cultural intensification. We are not only working with scientists, but also with artists and activists who express and enable these complementing requirements. We do assume there are cultural universals, seek them out and include them in our work.”

1 Comment Movement of the Day: GIVE, the global villages movement

  1. Øyvind HolmstadØyvind Holmstad

    This is the most encouraging movement I’ve come aware of for a long time, and I think I’ll try to translate these seven themes into Norwegian language. It’s the first time I’ve come aware of an organization fully devoted to build community around Alexander’s pattern technology.

    As we have lost our pattern languages I find the internet the most promising tool to rediscover old and timeless patterns, to reconnect them with new patterns for our time, to create new and beautiful pattern languages to heal our communities.

    Still, I also recently came across a dis-encouraging comment by John Michael Greer recently, an enormously well informed person and author. He made the following statement:

    “Villager, computers don’t build themselves, they don’t power themselves, they don’t mine the raw materials to make their own spare parts for themselves, and so on. They’re simply the final hurrah of the age of cheap abundant energy, and will go away as the immensely complex and energy-hungry infrastructure needed to support them becomes too costly to keep running. Thus I don’t think that the invention of computers is anything like a game-changer.” See:

    Is this era of information technology really soon going to vanish with the ongoing decline and peak-oil?

    If this really is true all the work of the p2p-foundation will be in vain as well.

    Then civilization will be utterly lost, as we have already lost our pattern languages, and with the loss of information technology we will loose our possibility to share our knowledge, to build a network of global villages.

    Hope someone with knowledge can give me a clue about how tomorrow will look like! Are we really going to loose everything?

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.