/Global Village Network

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The Idea for a Global Village Network (Franz Nahrada)

draft discussed at the meeting on 16th February 1997, Vienna City Hall

see list of participants and provisional steering committee members!

The Background

Seldom has a new technological wave had more potential to change so many dimensions of human life simultaniously: the challenges and potentials of communication combined with information technology are almost unprecedented in history.

Not only will it affect the way we work, we have access to education and knowledge, we communicate, we share our interests and our goals - it will deeply cut into the grown ties and borders of our society as well as create new ties and borders. It will affect the spatial structures of our habitat as well as the economic, social and politicat essentials. In fact, it is already doing so.

The enourmous boost of globalization, the mobility of capital, the rise of global cities and agglomerations - it would all not be possible without the space-bridging electronic nerve-system, that spans our whole globe.

At the same time, this technological progress is not any more the focus of hopes and positive expectations. It has becoming increasingly clear in a time of rapid changes, that meaningful changes in life can only happen withinin a process of adjustments and adaptions which put into balance the complex realities of our living systems - but society is completely lacking the tools to make this adaptive process happen.

As much as we expect problem-solution from technological progress and global flow of information, we feel that things get out of balance through the impact of rapid technological changes. Old social mechanisms that worked more or less satisfactory at their time, turn into hypertrophies or simply cease to work under the new conditions.

Instead of global spread of employment, safety and quality of life we witness the diminuishing ability of market economies to maintain the homogenous reproductive substructure essential for the survival of society as a whole. The global factory has no place and therefore it lacks responsibility for the place. At the same time, the importance of the quality of a place in a time of unlimited choices and mobility is bigger than ever.

Technological progress may work better if it is embedded in a web of social innovations. There are many attempts to create new webs of support and benefit from the enourmous asset that we are all connected, share our knowledge and abilities.

These adaptions of society to the new technological, economical, social and political conditions need to be given space and consideration, to enable us to make the best and meaningful use of the new potentials that we have.

One of the most powerful potentials that we are just beginning to unleash, is the feeling that in a time of increased global competition, diminuishing resources and growing uncertainty we have to use our local resources more wisely and that we can increasingly do so with the access to global knowledge, the sharing of experiences, the division of mental labour and the local connectedness that new information technologies make possible.

The discovery of the full potential of this combination between local resources and global knowledge is the purpose of the GLOBAL VILLAGE NETWORK.

The Initative

There are many players in the field of telematic innovation, who since long time want to look deeper into the potential of their field than just to design pipelines, interfaces and applications. It has been felt among many experts in the field that the impact of telematic and communication technologies will require research and design efforts on the overall fabric of society, because its operating modes will be deeply affected.

Socio-technical systems of a certain complexity do not evolve spontaneously, and we cannot afford like nature to let one million mutations emerge and die to find one succesful. At the same time, we do also know that we cannot design those systems from the desktop, rather we need to study developments in the laboratory of pilot projects, allow ourselves to simulate and test many possibilities in the framework of our imagination and offer the best ones to practical players and assist with foresight and anticipation in self-organizing processes . This all together will help us to come close to working solutions, it will also provide us with a lot of post mortem experiences, that we again have to analyze.

GLOBAL VILLAGE NETWORK is a toolkit with many tools to provide many different players in the field with access to knowledge about the physical and spatial impacts of telecommunication technologies. It is not designed just as a passive library and documentation center, but more as an active laboratory, in which positive changes can be anticipated and enhanced with the contribution of many.

It is mainly focused on the meso-level of the human physical plane, on our houses, neighbourhoods, settlements, urban and rural. How our life will change, it will manifest in visibility and concrete answers in the immediate living space that we will be able to create.

Of course, any of those answers has some connections to changes in the microlevel of our individual behaviour and the macrolevel of global changes. There is only focus, no sharp distinction.

GLOBAL VILLAGE NETWORK is a direct outcome of the five year work of GIVE, a research and action group located in Vienna, that has established many relations in the framework of organizing the GLOBAL VILLAGE international symposium. To stabilize these relations and prepare a new stage of activities, GIVE has had talks about establishing a research and action network that spans all over Europe and serves the scientific research, strategic discussion and establishment of partnerships for preparation of projects. Those projects and the focus of the network will primarily be centered in the field of urban and rural development, but adopt transdisciplinary connections whenever felt appropriate.

The Purpose


To identify the potential of global information networks to increase economic, ecological and social sustainability, wise use of resources, quality of life, a beautiful and healthy living environment, equality in living conditions to a global scale, cultural diversity and coherence, focussed around settlements, communities, neighbourhoods, urban and regional development


to disseminate best practices in this field closely tying in with similar networks dedicated to the same goals. Best practices could either be: - advanced, outstanding cases of local community and/or techno-ecosphere development or - outstandig examples of networking service or cooperation for the support of such development.


To contribute to the active participation in or initiation of practical projects described under (2)

Some Tools to discuss

1. Website

2. Newsletter

3. National---> Regional Contact Points - finding a place to support local information gathering and dissemination.

4. The Global Village Conference and Exhibition, Annual Members meetings in extraordinary places, "Village and OnSiteWorkshops"

5. Regional Chapters

6. Media Production and Documentation

7. long term goals

to GIVE homepage