Franz Nahrada / CORPSession2010 /
Franz Nahrada GIVE







  • Franz Nahrada is a sociologist, located in Vienna.
    He also co-owns and manages his ancestors / families hotel.
    He has founded a scientific research association (GIVE) to research the possibilities of a village renaissance. The combination of communication technology and education has been identified as the starting point and backbone for the introduction of a large number of new patterns and tools to the 21st century village life.
* Scientific Fields: Connections between architecture, ecology, technology and community building.
* Artivist Fields: Global Villages Network building. Virtual University of the Villages building. Postmonetary Solidarity Economics and P2P networks
* Looking for a village with a huge common library

Table of contents of this page
Speech outline   
About GIVE   
Links and Thoughts   
original idea (now subject to change) Anatomy of the post-metropolitan village   


The Village Dream is still alive

Whilst urbanisation is still considered a dominant and inevitable phenomenon in todays spatial development and even welcomed and praised by many actors, the speech argues that we might be still in for a surprise. After all, there is no "liveable city" without hinterland. Rural areas are essential - not only to feed the city but also to provide us with a lot of other indispensable qualities of life. But without rural population there will be no rural areas as we know and want them - just wilderness. While even in Europe the national state is increasingly too weak to provide homogenous rural infrastructure, a lot of new actors and developments are entering the stage. We begin to see the chance that in the right combination and with the right tools they could together create a fertile ground for a rural renaissance

Speech outline    

The Village Dream is still alive

  • We know that the Urbanisation trend still prevails
  • But we see urbanisation increasingly as selective phenomenon
  • winner cities vs. failing cities signals: mobility is still on the rise
  • new strategy for rural areas: dont wait, act!
  • for example: 44 Communities in Waldviertel team up to attract urban dwellers. http://www.wohnen-im-waldviertel.at/
  • its not the hope in the Internet, but the new world we can build around the Internet that possibly meets the challenge.
  • its not rural versus urban that wins, but "bring your city with in a box with you" - rural - urban partnerships.
  • thats at the core of GIVE research since 20 years. Events like Global Village and CULTH on one side, interfacing small human settlements on the other side.
  • We are now almost totally focussed on one thing: education
  • There is only two options: embrace urbanisation or seek to intelligently reverse it - the latter is basically a design challenge.
  • not only rural areas are facing this design challenge. Failing cities like Detroit need to go in similar directions.

  • At the core of our work is the conviction that the urbanisation process is detrimental.
  • With every percent rural population lost we loose civilisational accomplishments - liveable nature.
  • Rural potential is not a natural gift, it is the result of hundreds or thousands of years of man - nature interaction.
  • for main functions see: LostRuralPotential
  • we have unlearned to care: frozen like a deer in the headlights we look at the numbers of depopulation without understanding that this means erosion and destruction, overgrowth and volatility. The best that we think we can do is managing degrowth instead of maintaining false projections. But even degrowth must lead to a new quality, something that is sustainable.

  • Rural Potential translates into:
    • Room to move, air to breathe, seeing the sun and the stars.
    • Plant your carrots and strawberries or get them fresh and taste the difference.
    • Build your own resource base - matter and energy - within higher potential and greater challenges.
    • Build your own world together with your neighbors, in greater autonomy and responsibility, around common values if you can.
    • More options to bring down your living costs if you have the basic means.
    • More option to establish stable community, family life.
    • More options to mitigate the effect of economic crisis
  • Rural potential is intrinsically connected to a balanced population.

  • Rural Potential is felt. Its present in our urban imagery, in our myths, in our dreams and touristical destinations. It does not cease to fascinate us. We have seen rural SuccessStories throughout history and we are still keen to see the current one.
  • Success does not come out of the blue, although it seems so. It connects potential with passion.

Passion needs to be put in design to answer the following questions:
  • Do we need to be on the perpetual loop, unsustainable weekenders or tourists?
  • Or how can we have all the amenities of the rural and not miss the cinema, the pub, the hospital, the school, the university?
  • How can we integrate more functions into rural spaces that were previously unavailable?

  • The answer is in what I describe as Global Villages.

  • innovative but yet conventional solutions:
    • bundling (multifunctionality of infrastructures; "grocery and post office")
    • unbundling (autonomous units instead of large provider chains, for example in energy supply)
    • mobilizing services (like shops on wheel, transport on demand)
    • virtualizing the urban: eLearning, eGovernment, Telemedicine
  • the unconventional - it might happen because...
    • a glimpse at 5 stunning new building blocks
      • Automation: Intelligent decentralisation of industrial processes
      • Cultural Communities: Rural areas as physical manifestation of social networks.
      • Cohabitation: building of local economies out of Cohousing and Coworking
      • Virtual Cooperatives: foster interregional P2P agreements and specialize on common problems and solutions of rural settlements.
      • Regenerative Resource Revolution: Learn to diversify and sophisticate our green metabolism.
About GIVE    

The GIVE Laboratory (Globally Integrated Village Environment) is a research group in Vienna founded by Franz Nahrada in 1992. Its purpose is to promote and organise eabling research and development for rural community - building.
Activities and research fields of GIVE include
  • applied ICT (for example video communication in rural learning),
  • studies of sharing and cooperative economies and p2p knowledge cultures,
  • regional clustering and co-development,
  • local long-term-sustainable exchange systems and
  • new urban - rural relations including the study of "local interface institutions".
GIVE is active in formulating recomendations for progressive rural and regional policies focusing on experimental strategies for social innovation.
GIVE is also designed to observe long-term trends in architecture and physical planning of physically optimized small settlements and maintains a strong interest in further development of Christopher Alexanders Pattern Theory.
GIVE has created various grondbreaking networking events like Global Village (1993 - 2000, Vienna City Hall); Cultural Heritage in the Global Village (EU presidency Event 1998); NGO Internet Fiesta (1999). It is collaborating with international partners to build a Virtual University of the Villages and also a Global Villages Network for changemakers.

Links and Thoughts    

latest Telepolis discussion

original idea (now subject to change) Anatomy of the post-metropolitan village    

We are currently witnessing one of the most interesting urban experiments of our time. While many industrial and administrational urban centers still explode and accumulate hords of hungry dwellers, the city of Detroit has to reinvent itself. It is the first major urban agglomeration that is really forced to transform itself totally because of the demise of the car industry. One of the proposed solutions is to retrofit the city into an urban cluster of villages.