On the Cittaslow ('Slow City') Movement

Planetizen blogger and professional planner Steven Snell pens another dispatch for Fast Forward Weekly. This time he explains the "Slow" ethos—slow food, slow homes, and, yes, slow cities.
Alan Levine / Flickr

"Lesser known than slow food is Cittaslow (slow cities)," writes Snell. "Slow cities’ ethos is to resist the homogenizing effects of economic forces in cities, and how those forces often result in buildings that are reproductions of themselves — having no geographic origin; homes, tower blocks, shopping centres look like or function just like any other from any other place. Simply, or perhaps simplistically, Cittaslow is about a little less driving, a little less consumerism, a little more street fares, a little more drifting aimlessly in our urban milieu. Membership, if one is inclined towards a badge or byline, however, is available to those towns of souls totalling less than 50,000."

Snell also explains that the concept of slow is closely related to that elusive but coveted concept of "authentic," which is so central to high quality urban experiences. "Slow whatever-have-you is ultimately about community and engaging in authentic experiences. Authentic might just be questioning our normal urban predispositions. It might be the act of seeking slow. It might be walking to work with a friend or a stranger, sharing a story between sips of a coffee roasted by a local shop carried in a ceramic mug crafted by an artisan."

Full Story: Slow food, slow cities

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