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|3. The Neohori Proposal|
A «village implantation»
Very shortly, the purpose ofthe Neohori project is to create a scheme of "soft implantations" into the rural village that promote the purpose of the "healthy village" which might be of various kinds, given the condition that the create local employment, exchange, quality of life and they harmonize with the existing needs of the village. But this process has many steps, the way from possibility to achievement is a long one.
1. Accumulate a library of possibilities to create a critical mass for change.
The first goal of the Neohori project is to break through the unidirectional
and seemingly unevitable constraints of the current schemes of development
- big roads, traffic, supermarkets, cars, land abuse, destruction of public
space and so on. It is not about simple preservation, a museum shopping
mall, a nice little reservoir of cute artistic sentimentality. Rather than
this, it is about the accumulation of a host of possibilities that
favour equity, frugality, sustainability and yet provide much more quality
of life than industrial schemes in a complete real life situation. It is
about a different path for development that can prove much more fruitful.
There should be an opportunity to try out new ways if we feel the current
ways are going wrong.
Of course, one of the sources of this feeling is our memory. We see monuments of a past in which the island was much more densely populated. Beside scarcity and labour, we see traditional schemes of land use, application of local resources, community building, decision making which are still stunning to teh present. If we go back very far, we see an island which is at the forefront of scientific, technological, philosophical and spiritual development, full of ingenuity and leading-edge research. The ontological questions raised by philosophers more than 2000 years ago are again moving to the center of our attention, because we are looking for a convergence of the material and the spiritual.
Our feeling tells us that we have the potential of a radiant, healthy nature right at our hands to heal the wounds of our industrial age crippledness.
The emergence of Telematics, which makes knowledge resources, job opportunities and various services place-independent has stimulated our fantasy. We might be able to largely decentralize life, provided we take the infrastructure as serious as road - building.
Biotechnology - not necessarily genetic engineering - together with information technology might deeply influence our schemes of production and contribute to a more natural scheme of production alongside the efficient powers that we see working in the plants around us. We are now able to understand the powerful mechanisms of life superior to any machine, incredibly superior in efficiency, sustainability, absence of side-effects.
How could this turn into a benefit for a village?
- The village environment might be a favorable place for scientific institutions, providing a stress-free environment and specific local amenities, for example in agricultural research.
- This might attract specific touristical use much «softer» than the mainstream, if a village can create a «knowledge and support base for creative leisure» . The idea could involve summer academies, targeted towards specific artistic, therapeutic, holistic, etc., subjects.
- Given the potential of teleworking urban professionals, they might be willing to WORK as "lone eagles", but LIVE as "community contractors" supporting the ability of the locals to create a cycle of amenities out of local resources with the help of new and old technologies.
- Of course, one of the major ideas in this field could be to attract urban elderly population to enjoy a healthy environment and specific support systems - thus providing a human alternative to nursing homes, allowing the elders to be their own persons in their own houses. A contract could be set up between a village and civic institutions providing equal standards of care for everybody, those who have been a part of the village and those who come to it.
There are several crucial factors to the development of such a productive collaborative situation, and they all have to be met simultaneously. - - The specific potential of a locality, its cultural tradition etc., have to be evaluated.
- Ancient knowledge has to be reactivated.
- Key persons must identified to carry forward common action and agreements.
Infrastructural conditions have to be met unusual to the regular distribution schemes.
A location must of course be present, that can seve as the physical plane for implantation.
Only if a successful model can be set up, other villages might follow
this scheme and the task of innovation will be easier. But the one key
factor that is at the beginning is to share and accumulate a library
of possibilities far beyond the few ones mentionned here!
This library should be a reference point within the internet, a repository for many people to place their knowledge in an appropriate virtual space. The call for ideas will be the first step in the building of this library.
2. Find the priorities according to the village situation
In the case of the NEOHORI project, some conditions are well met. The
possibility to set up an implantation scheme is crated by the availability
of land close to the village which meets a lot of requirements; it is secluded
and accessible at the same time, protected through rocks and yet open to
the south, has access to water supply and tremendous natural beauty - and
it is only a two minutes walk away from the main village, has road and
electricity access and so on.
The project NEOHORI intends to create a beneficiary foundation, devoted to the following purposes:
- ecological architecture - to develop and test new and ancient building schemes for resource productivity, concordance with nature and higher quality of life.
- permaculture and local material cycles research - to develop schemes of intentional use of
ecological cycles, reuse of materials in permanent closed flow and unfolding of the full potential of local life systems.
- holistic health research, targeted specifically towards herbs and diet, to increase our knowledge how to achieve optimum health and well-being through intentional application of natural remedies in the state of pre-sickness. This research should be extended to expand our knowledge about the self-healing capacities of the human mind-body-soul-system.
Of course, working in so many diverse fields and trying to integrate them to a horizontal manifestation of a rejuvenated village, requires the cooperation with many specialized institutions. The NEOHORI project offers itself as a test bed for the practical experiment of integration of outstanding single-issue achievements into a workable solution for society.
The first priority is to create agreement about an environment which intents not to be at the leading edge of any of those developments, but to give them an opportunity to manifest in a more complex situation and to be perceived as an opportunity for grassroots change! Research here should be challenged to meet the conditions and requirements of the traditional village, contributing to its renewal and to integrate into a scheme of mastering the challenge of the post-industrial transition. Telematics should be considered as a means to this end and not as a goal in itself.
So the second priority is to create a communication center in the village that builds up relations between locasl researchers with leading edge researchers. Paleotechnologies of the Greek and other Mediterranean cultures should be made available and be compared with experience applicable from other circumstances. So the purpose of the communication center is to connect to global networks and facilitate dialogue between local and global knowledge, and again the computer networks will help to achieve this task.
The third priority is to have this communication center create
and facilitate some new job opportunities within the village.
3. Develop Plans and Structures for integrating leading edge researchers into a multidisiplinary demonstrator
In this preliminary concept, NEOHORI will be based on research fellowships of a limited duration, to facilitate the knowledge transfer from advanced laboratories to an integrated laboratory, providing a space and favorable conditions for this transfer. Every researcher has to submit a proposal for a practical result achieved through his work and manifesting in the betters of the village life. This work can serve as a demonstration of the scientific institution participating, a contribution to the village and also, maybe most important, as a model for best practice to other sites.
4. A commited institution for this purpose must be founded.
In the years 1997 to 1999, an intentional process towards the creation of the NEOHORI FOUNDATION on the base of certain membership categories and different commitments will be promotzed parallel to the ideas call.
Please let us know if you are interested in such a venture and under which conditions!
mail to: Franz Nahrada