Movement is followed by counter-movement, urbanization is followed by suburbanization – not only, but also – because families, for example, can no longer afford living in the city and their greater space requirements, and the way to the office has not been so important since Corona.
The alternatives are then Uckermark, Odenwald or Schwäbische Alp. The run on life in the big cities is thus followed by the urbanization of the villages – especially those that can be reached within 90 minutes from the nearest metropolis. Whether rediscovery or revival – the phenomenon of the newly awakening provinces can increasingly be observed. Villages, municipalities and small towns are benefiting from the density of the big cities. Because the province can offer what is no longer available in the international megacities: freedom and liberty.
These spaces of opportunity and their emergence are admittedly dependent on motors such as new technologies, for example sharing mobility, powerful Internet and generally good transport connections, which democratise information and accessibility. All these factors are changing rural areas, transforming barren areas away from the densely populated metropolises into places full of new quality of life: with educational, cultural and leisure facilities and comparatively lower property prices. This explains why, for the first time in 20 years, more people are leaving the big cities than moving in. The opposite poles of city and country, centre and periphery, culture and nature are dissolving, city and country belong more and more together. Digital working and the trend towards the home office, which has increased with the Corona pandemic, enable and promote urban villages – commuting is done in both directions.
Fürstenberg, for example, about an hour outside Berlin. The Brandenburg water town on the Oberhavel with a population of just under 4,000 in its core area has developed from a purely tourist region through the ideas and input of creative land pioneers and is perhaps in the process of reinventing rural life. The cinema in the Kulturhof Alte Reederei has been around for quite some time, and in 2018 a maker’s space has been established in the former waiting hall of the station, which is still in operation. Verstehbahnhof Fürstenberg is the name of an initiative by Daniel Domscheit-Berg and the team of the havel:lab association. With programme items such as the children’s uni and Jugend hackt, the place promises new perspectives for the region as well as cultural life and exchange with guest rooms, bicycle rental and a café.
So far, it is mainly architects, journalists and programmers, scientists, artists and other creative people who are attracted – sometimes without, but often with their families – to the countryside. Frederik Fischer’s concept of the co-village also shows how the province can establish itself as a pioneer. “I long for a place that offers peace and quiet without loneliness, a life in community without having to give up privacy,” the journalist writes in his 2018 appeal* to build new villages. For Fischer, “co-villages break with the prejudice that boredom lurks in the province”. He sees potential scope for development in the most remote areas. “However, we want to deliberately establish the co-villages at a distance from existing villages so that they do not become foreign bodies that force their way into established structures. They are open to everyone, but do not impose themselves on anyone.
Alternative life models and ideas of a contemporary life like this are gaining in self-confidence. Urban landscapes are created without following dogmas and old rules. Smart marketing attracts companies and new residents. New technologies and well thought-out buildings give a home to the colourful, diverse, complex and dynamic world in which we live. Where the next village awakes tomorrow, you too can help decide. Get in touch with us. We will find out where urban developments in the countryside are worthwhile.