Italian Cities Are Slowing Down

<p>More and more Italian cities are getting on board the "Slow City" movement, from the big to the tiny.</p>
October 7, 2007, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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"'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."

"The miniscule Tuscan Chianti town of Greve became the first 'cittáslow' in 1999, followed by Bra, Positano and Orvieto. Over time, the slowness wave has spread. 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. In Germany, a number of cities -- including Hersbruck, Lüdinghausen, Schwarzenbruck, Waldkirch and Überlingen -- have joined the select circle, which only admits cities with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants."

"Residents serve as quiet proof that concentrating on local products and industries can be a benefit, rather than a restriction. And lest they begin to seem like a bunch of ascetics, they make sure to hold wine festivals and riotous feasts on area farms."

"To a certain extent, a 'slow city' tries to preserve the civic structures from medieval or Renaissance times, while at the same time incorporating the most recent scientific findings of ecology and sustainability. Even allowed modern technology is allowed if it helps to meet the city's goals. For example, Cimicchi is hoping to install electronically controlled access gates in Orvieto, which would grant entrance exclusively to city residents."

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Published on Friday, October 5, 2007 in Der Spiegel
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