The village within the city


While it hold true that for economic necessities people are clustering in cities, the same cities undergo a deep structural change. The city center is needed for exactly two reasons: representation of power and touristical leisure. Real functionality has gradually moved to the edge, starting with living, continuing with shopping, ending up with work.

We see the renaissance of smaller cities and even villages within the larger ones; new urban centers chaotically competing for attention and users. Now suddenly we see multifunctionality in around shopping malls, the synergies of those malls and office space which form microcosmic environments and new points of attraction.

In 1995, when me moved the Global Village event from the Technical University to the City Hall of Vienna, it was the full use of this irony that we had in mind. We wanted people to travel to the city center to visit the future of their own district centers. We supposed that a dense telematic mall with a mixture of real shops and discovery zones would be a central point for the urban villages of the future, where people meet and communicate in many unprecenteded ways.

This was the hidden agenda behind the exhibition in the Volkshalle, the Peoples Hall - which is in the ground floor of the neogothic city government building. We mixed telebanking, telework, urban information services with electronic cafés, exhibitions and other stuff. But the purpose - within the limitation of many players treating this as a mere trade show -was to test and shape the image of a place-independent urban center.