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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Comunidades y Viviendas: "Slow Cities"
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Friday, October 05, 2007

Comunidades y Viviendas: "Slow Cities"

this fits in nicely with the community concept i've been discussing off and on (here, here and here, among others) for the past couple of months...

A banner for a festival in Bevagna:
The celebration is conducted at a snail's pace.

"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.


"Our goal is to create liveable cities," says [Stefano Cimicchi, mayor of Orvieto, Italy, from 1991 to 2004], a cheerful 51-year-old with a white moustache and laugh lines around his eyes. "We are working, if you will, on the concept of the utopian city, in the same way as the writer Italo Calvino and the architect Renzo Piano have done."

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.

i've visited the cinque terre region in italy, five unesco world heritage sites villages along the ligurian coast... they function much the same way as "slow cities", and i was vastly impressed... the sense i got was one of towns existing for the people who live there, as opposed to places that have been overtaken and virtually destroyed by the automobile and the relentless push for business expansion and profit...

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre,
Ligurian coast, Italy

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