Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Slow Cities

Tired of racing all the time, trying to catch the economy while losing on "good life"? Well, consider this: an international (mostly European) network of cities are joining the "Slow Cities" movement. Here's a piece from Planetizen:
[E]ven though the dynamics of globalization are affecting cities and regions, urban planners, mayors, and citizens of small towns are taking action to resist processes of standardization and homogenization. Slow Cities are dedicated to community economic development efforts that focus on the unique attributes of a place such as small businesses, locally owned restaurants, farmers markets, and socially responsible enterprises.
Slow Cities want to be at the forefront of cutting-edge urban planning ideas, technology and innovation. They are not against locating a McDonald's, but rather hope that through their efforts the citizens will become educated consumers who are aware of the local choices and option for getting fresh, healthly and tasty meals. Slow Cities want to be eventful places where local traditions are celebrated and mixed with cosmopolitan influences.
I see this in-line with the rationale behind "smart growth":
Smart growth tries to take into consideration the total long-term economic costs of development decisions, rather than merely an aggregation of the short term profits that can be made by improving each individual parcel of land.
As in: sure, (economic) development is important, but what about preserving some "good life" while we're pursuing it, for us and for our children?

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  1. interesting, i live in nyc and i think the city is very very fast but perhaps it is one of the most non-standard and heterogeneous cities (e.g. it's hard to find a fast food chain restaurant but a lot of locally owned restaurants, farmer markets).

  2. Weakties,
    You're lucky to be living in NYC :) I think it's no ordinary city. But anyhow, expensive cities always have more options because i.e., the highly-paid Wall Street executives would not want to eat at a McD. Furthermore, the variety of migrants make food supply more interesting as well.

  3. Livable and friendly cities, I think...

    Yeah, just take it slow :p

  4. My suspicion is that slow cities will also be expensive cities, since they will not take full advantage of cheap labor, mass products, etc.

  5. Ujang,
    That's a good point. It's interesting how some things that were not expensive before, such as home-cooked meal, and even leisure time, are now very expensive for some people.

  6. TQ for Infonya LAm kenal aja