Friday, March 19, 2010

Cittaslow: Putting quality of life first

Cittaslow aims to rediscover aspects of urban life by creating space for “The good, slow life”  with peace of mind, sustainable environment and quality food, music and buildings. 

Cittaslow is a growing network of minor cities working towards sustaining quality of life in cities. The movement was founded in Italy in 1999 by Carlo Petrini, inspired by the slow food movement of which Petrini was also the founder. The city slow concept is about protecting the environment, promoting local goods and production and sustaining the uniqueness of each particular city.

The Cittaslow movement aims to rediscover aspects of urban life by creating space for “The good, slow life” with room for thought, sustainable environment and quality food, music and building culture. The Cittaslow Charter was created and later signed by Carlo Parlo Petrini mayor of Bra, together with the mayores of Greve in Chianti, Positano and Orvieto. Cittaslow is Italian for "slow city" or "slow town".

Cittaslow goals include improving quality of life in towns while resisting the homogenization of cities. Celebrating and supporting diversity of culture and the uniqueness of a town and its constituents are Cittaslow core values. The concept is about protecting the environment, about promoting local goods and production, and about avoiding the ‘sameness’ that afflicts too many towns in the modern world. It is about caring for the town you live in, and the people who live and work in it, or come for a visit. 

A membership of Cittaslow is open to cities with a population below 50,000 individuals. The city signs up to work towards a set of goals that aim to improve quality of life, and the city needs to pass an assessment before admittance to the Cittaslow network. To become eligible for membership, a city must normally score at least 50 percent in a self-assessment process against the set of Cittaslow Goals, and then apply for admission to the appropriate Cittaslow national network. There are now Cittaslow National Networks in 11 countries with other countries working towards setting up their own national networks. Participating cities pay annual membership fee. 

The Cittaslow organisation also has supporting memberships for public bodies, businesses and cities that support the Cittaslow aims and goals, but are not eligible to become Cittaslow in their own right. 

Sustainable Cities