New book alert: City Quitters makes us question the value of the metropolis

Off the grid – The Frame office is located in Amsterdam, a mid-size city known for its high quality of life and its fertile professional network. And yet, every now and then – especially now in the summer, the season for countryside and beach stays – we wonder: ‘What would happen, in terms of creative output and emotional health, if we left the asphalt behind?’

Our new book, City Quitters, provides 22 answers from former urbanites who decided to go off the grid in places like Austria, China, Japan, Brazil and India. Its author, Karen Rosenkranz, is a devout, confessed and ardent lover of the urban metropolis. But as a trend forecaster, her job is to spot new patterns in people’s attitudes before they become mainstream… and one of the patterns she’s been finding is an intersection between growing urbanisation and Instagram-aided uniformity. ‘What’s new in London, Los Angeles, Berlin or Shanghai is becoming more and more similar,’ she stated. ‘What if fresh, original thinking is no longer the preserve of a thriving megacity?’

While the desire for a simpler life is nothing new, the personal case studies she displays in the book attempt to shed light on what rural life can be like today. ‘The global trend of urbanisation is irreversible, but there are alternative approaches for creative living and working,’ Rosenkranz explained.

City Quitters comes out this September 4 and it's currently available for pre-order in our web store. In the meantime, here is a preview of some of those alternative approaches.

Photos by Fabien Charuau

Architect and co-founder of SAV
From Mumbai to London to Parra, Goa, India (population: 4,400)

Like us [Ed’s note: Amita and her partner Vikrant, who own an architecture practice], the team went through ups and downs. They are much younger than us, and often young graduates just want to party all the time. But I think after the first three months they started to realise that going for a walk in the fields on a foggy morning does something to you as a creative individual.

Photos by Heidi's Bridge

Artists, chefs and founders of Lil’ Deb’s Oasis
From New York to Madrid to Hudson, New York, United States (population: 6,400)

The cost of living is lower here and people have more time to say “yes” to things. You can say: “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if we did this?” And then do it. Of course, there is that ethos in New York and many things are happening, but it just feels like there is more time and space to make it happen here.

Photos by Amie Galbraith

Founder of A Vida Fausto
From New York to Berlin to Amsterdam to Cerdeira, Arganil, Portugal (population: 320)

I had heard about a concept that suggested we’re only productive for three hours a day, so I thought I’d do an experiment and try. The projects still got done in time, and everyone was still happy. And I actually had more money at the end of the month than when I was working like crazy.

Photos by Ivano Atzori

Founders of Pretziada
From New York to Milan to Is Aresus, Sardinia, Italy (population: 6)

The interesting part was to develop a survival strategy. We’ve always lived in cities and worked in creative areas, so we knew we needed more from the countryside than just lavender plants and peace at night. We had to find a way to blend country life with our metropolitan souls; a way to use all our skills, knowledge and interests and have them come together in one project. That’s how Pretziada started.

Photos by Karen Rosenkranz and Andreas Trump

Sociologist and cultural advisor
From Graz to Wildon, Styria, Austria (population: 5,300)

The compelling thing about the way we live here is that there’s something very urban about it, as well. You’ve got your retreat, but if you want to socialise there are always like-minded people around. You just have to go up or down a floor [Ed’s note: Rainer turned the formerly disused castle into an experiment on communal living] and you can have a coffee or a glass of wine with somebody. You still have this exchange of ideas.

Get your copy of City Quitters in our web store.

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