Welcome to the Open School for Village Hosts

Village Hosts bring new social, economic and ecological life to small villages and their local economy. They create new livelihoods, and good work, in emerging urban-rural markets: positive-impact tourism, nature reconnection, adventure sports, farm-shares, learning journeys, wellness retreats, work-vacations, heritage trails, and more.

To realise these opportunities, Village Hosts seek out and connect assets that may already exist in a community, but are unknown, or isolated: people, places, buildings, and skills.

Based on these new connections, Village Hosts develop services sustained by new business models: remote working, co-housing, platform co-ops and others.

Village Hosts enable diverse partners and stakeholders to work together – often for the first time. Their work is a form of green infrastructure.

Although the description ‘Village Host’ is new, similar work is of course being done at a local level by local pioneers, social innovators, and enterprising local officials.
But many more such people are needed. In Italy alone, 5,500 small villages (those with 5,000 or fewer inhabitants) have been declining; in Spain, 3,500; in Serbia, 4,700 – to name just three of the countries represented in this project.

Knowledge, skills and qualities

An unusual combination of knowledge, skills and qualities are needed to be an effective Village Host.

Village Hosts need ‘hard’ capabilities such as digital skills, or business planning. But as collaboration experts – people who connect people – a Village Host’s most valuable skills are often so-called ‘soft’ ones: hosting, convening, facilitating, animating, and co-ordinating.

Our plan of work 2022-2023

Another consideration: every village is unique. The Open School for Village Hosts will therefore not be based on a standard curriculum. Instead, we will Identify the range competencies that a Village Host could need, and enable students to choose the micro-courses they need:

Identify the range of key competencies that a Village Host could need

Pilot a training programme with 40 Village Hosts from different parts Europe

Publish a manifesto to advocate for the work, and a handbook to help people do it

Build a Collaboration Platform with three functions:

a) collect and publish stories
b) provide tools
c) support and enable a community of knowledge exchange

Lead Partner


Special advisor John Thackara / Writer, curator, and professor at Tongji University in Shanghai.
He is developing a lifeworlds agenda for regenerative design, urban-rural reconnection, and ecological restoration.

News from the project

News from the project

Seasons of Village Hosts

We follow their journeys through different maturity seasons, seeking to understand their needs and allowing ourselves to get touched by their beautiful visions for thriving rural areas.

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