See also: GlobalVillages, What makes Global Villages special?, What makes them important?, OriginsOfTheTerm, Principles, Activities

A Global Village is simply and basically the synergetic relationship between a local learning center with access to global knowledge (Telecenter, Hub, Library, ...) on one side with a local living environment in which this knowledge can be applied, tested, enhanced on the other side. Together they form a local habitat with a global support system

A Global Village needs to be resourceful in access to the world of information and culture, as well as it needs to be resourceful in access to local resources, material - energetical cycles, inhabitants, processes, biotopes etc. The purpose of a Global Village is to provide a high quality, healthy, satisfactory, secure and sustainable lifestyle to its inhabitants and improve and densify the local life process.

Underlying assumptions of a Global Villages Network

1. We think that the biggest requirement of our time is to rebalance our lifestyle with the planet we are living with; in particular this means a physical transformation from a world of large industrial and administrative centers to a cellular-fractal world of highly sophisticated villages.

2. We do not want to lose the achievements of science and technology, of culture and art; rather we want to manifest them in physical spaces that represent more and more perfect encounters of the cultural and the underlying natural. By going deeper into the nature of things we have discovered that nature is nothing that we can just leave behind us, but in itself an incredibly complex technological system, a web of life that transcends many of our highest technological and artistic abilities in ingenuity, sustainability, perfection and usefulness. The village is an environment in which these two layers - nature and culture - can coexist and influence each other in the best possible way. Aligning ourselves with nature is the best and most productive way we can overcome boundaries; it is not the boundaries of nature that are hindering us but our limited understanding of nature and its creativity. Whilst the dominating monetary economies have led to narrow-scaled costly battles for shrinking buying power in the short-term cyclical consumption game and abandoned and exploited everything which could be made productive in the long run, Global Villages are directly linked to the constant long-term regeneration of natural environments. Permaculture has proven hat humans can largely enhance and support natural systems instead of distorting or destroying them, an activity which results in the creation of really sustainable abundance.

3. By the very same means the village is also the perfect environment to represent our diverse cultural designs; it allows people to live and breathe locally alongside shared values, whilst not hindering other people in other villages in realizing theirs. An unprecedented culture of reconciliation and coesistence between formerly hostile cultures can result out of this, but also a positive competition of entirely different solutions to common problems. Moving out of each others way will not require heavy migration, just maybe a little relocation. Many cities have successfully drawn their strength from this pattern, as Christopher Alexander describes in "a network of subcultures".

A global village is a place where we influence our surroundings by applying an unlimited mind. It therefore shows the qualities of an unlimited mind.

Starting a science of GlobalVillages

The object of a GlobalVillages research endeavor is a specific form in which we will organize life and work tomorrow, empowered by global communication, new technologies and shared knowledge, centered around values as:

  • The natural rather than the artificial: the connection between humans and landscape, the cultivation and care of a ground that embodies human and cultural values as much as it preserves the integrity of vital biosystems through the stewardship of man. ("cultured landscape")
  • Informal rather than formal: Conviviality within a smaller community which we nowadays can choose and leave freely. Independent thinking might be a core value. "Big systems demand order, they have to rely on the thourough execution of a lot of intertwined rules. The inspired, the ones who have fantasy and creativity and talents tend to break these rules, that is simply part of their nature" (Frithjof Bergmann)
  • Cooperation rather than competition: a global cooperative economy and culture connecting those communities ("open source economy") We think that nowadays smaller communities benefit enormously from empowering and enabling global networks. ("empowered village"). We think that it is mainly this power of global associations of villages (aka association of regions) which can and will reverse the current trend towards the city and introduce this new synthesis between urban and rural.

Another way to say this...

"Simply, the idea of a Planetary Village is a set of expectancies many of us share about the future of our changing culture. We expect that humanity will learn to live in ecological balance with the rest of nature. We expect that our way of life will be sustainable - not dependent on non-renewable resources. We expect all of humanity will become aware of its interdependency and will learn to cooperate globally. We expect that human consciousness will deepen and become more perceptive, loving and wise - become more spiritually sensitive. The vision of the Planetary Village imagines all of these qualities pervading a community with the scale and dynamics of a traditional village.

About the terminolgy

We took the term GlobalVillage to express the same as stated above and add a notion of the technological means to achieve it. A GlobalVillage in the sense we use it here is something very different from the dominant use of the term initiated by Marshall McLuhan and others (see OriginsOfTheTerm). For us, GlobalVillages (note that we are talking in plural) are physical environments rather than virtual ones - but transcending their previous local limitedness and narrowmindedness with the help of networking with and without modern communication technologies. So the Local Circles that make up the life in villages and neighborhoods might each one be connected to CulturalCommunities around the globe - which enables them to serve and function in a different way at local level. The result of these interactions is simply a place that meets more needs than ever before. Among them is the need to have place and space to unfold, to be in harmony with nature and with our fellow humans.

Some more reflections

While traditionally villages and rural areas were environments that are neutral and even hostile to independent and creative thinking, the almost overwhelming urban competition threats them with extinction and forces them to rediscover and redesign themselves. People and their individuality are assets that can also unfold under village conditions in a very different way. Ideally, but not naturally, the following happens: Everybody is important, everybody needs to play many roles, everybody is involved in a dialogue process. Villages around the world (or rather the people living in them) are increasingly discovering that this informal and flexible structure is what makes them an attractive place to live. The connection with nature allows for a certain degree of material self-suficiency, which is a basic condition for unbiased human development.

So we base our culture on the active work for villages, also because we like to find for ourselves places where we can get old in dignity. But through that emphasis on villages we also positively influence the life in cities, according to the observations of Christopher Alexander about the importance of cities being regional centers and hubs of culture. The Global Village option makes use of the latest in technology as well as the best in tradition to achieve the goal of a sustainable human habitat.

Follow up with Concept

More about what we mean by Global Villages

GlobalVillages is an expression that we "borrowed" (with expressed consent from Eric and Corinne McLuhan in 1998) from a very popular concept by MarshallMcLuhan. (See also: OriginsOfTheTerm)

We changed the notion, though.

For us, as stated above "Global Villages" are real settlements, physical neighbourhoods, that meet the challenge of todays global communication possibilities. Think of it as a village that suddenly, without growing physically, can meet the intellectual and cultural needs of urban people, because it has many functions which are "empowered" by networks. Be it education, work, healthcare,production, suddenly we do not have to leave the village to get a lot of things done.

Thus we can focus on improving the village itself and "use cyberspace to create sustainable living space", as was the motto of the in Vienna 1993, 1995 and 1997. We think that IT can be a catalyzer of ecologically sustainable lifestyles - and that together with this, IT should provide elements of empowerment, autonomy, improvement of quality of life, enhancing community and cooperation (based on Open Source). This is what this wiki tries to focus on.

This Global Village as physical place has many dimensions. This Wiki was created to unfold ALL those dimensions.

More Thoughts on Definition

From the Directory: human settlements (mostly, but not limited to rural settlements) which are substantialy influenced and augmented by information technology.

Suggestion: A village focusing on a specific topic to become a center for a network of interested people around the world to serve the village and these people at the same time. -- Helmut Leitner
Another one: A village surpassing its constraints by having actors in some or many spheres of village life linked to global networks. -- Franz Nahrada
A village which spends considerable effort in becoming a place where you do not feel excluded from global cultural wealth. (And therefore feel even more at home) -- FranzNahrada
Andrius suggested a very interesting Pattern Definition according to Christopher Alexanders method:

  • Pattern: Global Village
  • Conflict: People's outlook is affected by their surroundings. They can change their surroundings by interacting with each other, but the interactions give rise to a group mind that crushes their outlook.
  • Resolution: Share channels by which individuals can connect beyond their surroundings so that they can interact intensely locally but be sustained by relationships from afar.
  • Activity: Take turns in using the tools by which we are connected or not connected to those far away.
  • Structure: Build access points which are convenient to access but which also respect the individual nature of our affair
Comment from Helmut Leiter: I don't think that this pattern holds. Alexander patterns are from observation, not just inventions. Even with software patterns the rule was to have at least three implementations to name something a pattern. Shared access points are maybe a SharedAccessPoints pattern, they aren't intrinsically bound to "village".

"Global Villages" is partly on observation also (at least we hope that Kirchbach gets real!)
patterns can be used somewhere else also -- Franz Nahrada

Maybe I was unclear. I think Kirchbach is real as an emerging global village. The concept of GV is real. Just the pattern definition above doesn't fit, because it doesn't explain why these shared connections are bound to the village, they could be anywhere. BTW do you consider Alpbach a global village? And if yes or no, why? -- Helmut Leitner

IMHO Alpbach is a stage, and not a global village. The biggest achievement is really nice tourist accomodation and beautiful old houses. But the village became rather disempowered. The interesting people are going away after the summer, not staying there. -- Franz

What I like about Alpbach is the "known to the world" and the "connected to a topic" aspects. There may be other aspects of a global village missing, but I think any other global village should strive to aquire these two as well. To physically meet is important for a global community, but it can't mean for the majority to stay there all year. The more, the better, of course. If you think that Alpbach isn't a global village, one should think hard about a project to make it one. -- Helmut

->The best way to make Alpbach a global village is to make Kirchbach a model for Global Villages and get Alpbachers interested. I mean Alpbachers will have no difficulties to understand the benefits and definitely no financial problems to start much faster than even Kirchbach, but currently they feel very comfortable with what they have. They even might feel happy with tranquility and lonesomeness in winter. If they see we do not want to create a circus with building a Global Village, they might feel more comfortable. --Franz
-> I started with some thoughts how Kirchbach can proceed becoming a truly GlobalVillage. Maybe we can discuss that on sunday and put that here --Franz

More Discussion

Short descriptions and approaches, one or two paragraphs. Make the picture colourful and respect the opinion of others!


The basic assumption is this: Global Villages are neither Ecovillages nor Ecocities, in my opinion they are a distinct form of human settlement with some similarities to the other two main approaches towards sustainable settlement building.

What are the specifics:

  • Global Villages are small in size and add "urban effect" by maintaining a "piazza" or "center" with lots of infrastructure and services for remote cooperation with other places. The most important element of this center is educational.
  • Global Villages are not primarily directed towards farming and growing, although this might be an important part. The life in Global Villages and their culture is centered on exchange of knowledge and improvements within the local habitat. Yet their emphasis on embeddedness with nature is bigger than, lets say, in a small city.
  • Global Villages have a "theme" in particular. They know they are not complete, they must work together, either with neighbouring villages or other places, and they take pride in the particular strength they can give to others. Their culture is built on openness.


Hi Franz! I'm thinking of emphasizing culture (creating one's own) as the key purpose for developing a global village (or unity center). And to foster our creative activity (poetry, drumming, etc.) Would that fit with your vision? I'm curious what your current priorities are. Also, I'm thinking it might be best to work through the Open People site. Hey, perhaps Global Villages might be the "cultural zone" idea that could hook up Back To The Root with the idea of Unity Centers etc. Merry Christmas

FranzNahrada Thank you and the same to you. I think GlobalVillages definitely have this cultural zone, and this is what might make them different. It is important to keep a place free of predefined activity, so it can generate the unexpected. All in all a GlobalVillage as I understand it is a wholistic design of all aspects of human living in a place which is rich and loaded with opportunities - not by being a crowded city, but a smart community. I like making this wiki here the center of gravity for such community design approaches. I like very much Ricks initiative to have us host an ArcologyWiki.

Top:HelmutLeitner I think that the most important aspect of GlobalVillages must be to provide additional advantages to all parts of the system (the inhabitants, the society, ...) but especially to increase the chances and economic advantages of the existing inhabitants of the village. They have to open to an development. They should stay in control or increase control about their environment and culture. GlobalVillages can't be primarily about outside technologies or ideas "sold" to a new market (this is intentionally exaggerated).


Global can mean many different things. That is a good thing about the word, it allows you to apply many different positive methods and people towards an idea.

Village is almost like going back to one of the first human 'inventions' or realisations. That if we work together and combine our different skills, we will survive and grow.

Our villages must be peaceful, loving and full of honour, while being able to survive in the big bad world full of beasts and fairies

Another pattern approach

  • Pattern: GlobalVillages
  • Conflict: The large city is not the environment in which we can unfold our system of values - traditional villages were even more supressive.
  • Solution: Combine small, village-style settlements with a structure to foster global communication
  • Activity: Walk back and forth between areas for hands-on work, learning, relaxation and public internet access points (for working, education, exchange of open designs, cultural access).
  • Structure: Dense, pedestrian oriented settlements: the urban, the suburban and the rural within the diameter of less than one mile.

More splinters

Global Villages is another project of Minciu Sodas which deals with two major issues:

1. The future shape of neighbourhoods and villages in an era where we can bring communicative abilities into our immediate surrounding; the assumption is, that villages can reinvent themselves as places where people can have the best of both worlds, urban communication and rural tranquility. How to make this possible is the subject of a "pattern language of Global Villages" and of a "directory of Global Villages"

2. The way we co-operate in a virtual community across the world is also a hot subject, mainly because Global Villages is at the brink of becoming a working network of contributing authors.

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