Deliberate travel, deliberate living at Cittaslow

You’d think it’d be easier to slow down—to take the time to connect and enjoy the things that matter the most. This is true whether you’re a traveler or in the routine of daily life.

An article that recently caught my eye was The Guardian‘s “The Slow Way to Go” about Cittaslow—an organization that lives and promotes the slow life. If you’re like me, you’ve already heard of Slow Food but not about its sister organization. Cittaslow was based on the same principles of sustainability and conviviality, but applied to other things in addition to food.

The 11 countries in Cittaslow’s international network (Italy, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, South Korea) share an interest in:

• Quality of urban fabric (historic buildings, gardens, parks, use of new technology)

• Environment (pollution, waste management and recycling)
• Infrastructure (open space, seating, public conveniences, access, traffic management)

• Local produce and products (local producers and suppliers of food and crafts, healthy eating, the arts, farmers market)

• Hospitality (facilities for tourists, community life, Slow Food)

• Awareness (communications, local involvement, education)

Sure, I look at this list from the traveler’s point of view. If possible, I want to travel in a way that connects me to the locals and their culture as much as possible. I’d much rather see, eat, experience something that’s ingrained with the history of a place rather than the quick buck of commercialism. But of course, more than these personal interests I’m a fan of these goals for the longevity of the culture itself.

Of course, some countries have no problem with the slow life—that’s just how they normally operate. But it’s those countries or regions with such a quick pace of life and a blind eye to sustainability where Cittaslow could be a welcome change.

I’m hopeful that more cities will take it on. Each of the 11 member countries has only a handful of represented cities. Unfortunately, the US doesn’t have representation yet—I have to wonder what the first city to join would be.

If this interests you, too, you might want to check out the book “Go Slow England,” written by Alastair Sawday, the author of The Guardian article. It promotes “being slow, eating and travelling slowly, of changing lives and places in order to achieve a new balance.”

Posted by | Comments Off on Deliberate travel, deliberate living at Cittaslow  | April 23, 2008
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

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