Today is Cittaslow Sunday, the First International Day of Good Slow Living. How are you planning to celebrate?
Cittaslow, or Slow City, is an organization that celebrates and promotes a human-speed, human-scale alternative to unchecked speed and limitless growth. A couple decades ago some folks in Italy decided they didn’t want fast food chains in their towns, so they created the Slow Food movement to celebrate the culture, tradition, and joy of growing, harvesting, cooking, and sharing local food. Slow Food spread to Slow City, and Cittaslow International now counts more than 130 towns worldwide as part of its network. Sonoma, California, became the first Slow City in the United States in 2009.
So, what is a Slow City? and why should I care?
At its core, the Slow City movement is about living a measured, considered life. Taking the time to know one’s neighbors. To appreciate the many things life has to offer besides the latest trend and newest product. Slow Cities aren’t static places; they simply respect and honor their past. They aren’t unproductive places; they merely recognize that the most valuable “goods” a town has to offer can’t always be bought and sold.
Is Sarasota a slow city? Well, not officially. Sarasota is slightly too populous to qualify for membership in Cittaslow International (max. 50K people in a slow city). But in its traditions and its predominant way of life, isn’t Sarasota a slow city with or without official designation? It has a compact, walkable downtown and historic neighborhoods where echoes of its early days can still be heard. A burgeoning local food industry. A plethora of local artisans and craftspeople. Sarasota is the kind of town where people know each other. Yes, it has grown, but Sarasota is in no danger of becoming Tampa or Miami anytime soon. What if we embraced a Slow City lifestyle in some official way? Would Slow Sarasota be an identity all its residents could share?