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.

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

A movement for Village Hosts?

How could Village Hosts improve their initiatives? How could Village Hosts be recognized as both a new job and a potential alternative? How could Village Hosts have a positive and relevant impact?

Read More »