Slow Cities Spreading Fast


Pleasure instead of haste: Pedestrians take it easy in the "Slow City" of Castiglione del Lago on Lake Trasimeno. Around 1.1 million tourists visit the city annually.

You have heard of slow food; get ready for slow cities. It is an outgrowth of the slow food movement and like it, started in Italy. According to Der Spiegel, "Slow City" advocates argue that small cities should preserve their traditional structures by observing strict rules: cars should be banned from city centers; people should eat only local products and use sustainable energy. In these cities, there's not much point in looking for a supermarket chain or McDonald's.

There are now 42 slow cities in Italy, and more and more cities -- in Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Poland and Norway -- conform to the movement's list of strict requirements. ::Spiegel
Chiavenna is a Slow City located at the foot of the Italian Alps. Especially on a Saturday, residents and tourists enjoy strolling and chatting in the streets of the old town.

Heike Mayer and Paul L. Knox write in Planetizen:

"While the Slow City movement is gaining ground in Europe, could the movement spread to the United States, a country where the urban development mantra has been more about being fast rather than slow? We think yes.

As Europeans, it is exciting to live in the United States at this point in time because this fast-paced society is opening up to ideas of slowness. While the United States is a more fast-paced society, there are a number of examples that you can point to that indicate an openness for the idea of slowness. The number of farmers markets have increased dramatically and the options to buy organic food are bountiful. Urban design has become more concerned about placemaking and human interactions. Green building designs, sustainable urban development, growth management, and other measures to contribute to a greener environment are becoming more commonplace. Local entrepreneurship has become a key driver of urban economies and adds diversity to our main streets. " Planetizen

The Charter of the Slow Cities movement, developed in Orvieto in October 1999:

Slow Cities are cities which:
1- implement an environmental policy designed to maintain and develop the characteristics of their surrounding area and urban fabric, placing the onus on recovery and reuse techniques

2- implement an infrastructural policy which is functional for the improvement, not the occupation, of the land

3- promote the use of technologies to improve the quality of the environment and the urban fabric
4- encourage the production and use of foodstuffs produced using natural, eco-compatible techniques, excluding transgenic products, and setting up, where necessary, presidia to safeguard and develop typical products currently in difficulty, in close collaboration with the Slow Food Ark project and wine and food Presidia

5- safeguard autocthonous production, rooted in culture and tradition, which contributes to the typification of an area, maintaining its modes and mores and promoting preferential occasions and spaces for direct contacts between consumers and quality producers and purveyors

6- promote the quality of hospitality as a real bond with the local community and its specific features, removing the physical and cultural obstacles which may jeopardize the complete, widespread use of a city's resources

7- promote awareness among all citizens, and not only among inside operators, that they live in a Slow City, with special attention to the of young people and schools through the systematic introduction of taste education. ::Slow Cities

Tags: Architecture | Italy