Sustainable Cities™

Bra: Slow food - slow city

Cittaslow is a growing network of minor cities around the world, working towards sustaining the qualities of life in cities. The slow city movement stems from the slow food movement and is a revolt against standardisation and mass production. The aim is to protect the environment, promoting local goods and production as well as sustaining the uniqueness of each individual city.

Slow food, Af Thera, Flickr, Creative Commons

Brá, Italy, has about 30,000 inhabitants and is located about 50 kilometres south of Turin, in a gastronomic region known for, among other things, its wines, truffles and cheese. Brá is one of the founding cities in the Cittaslow movement. The inspiration to create slow cities came from the Slow Food movement with international head office and own restaurant in Brá. Earlier the city contained major footwear industry, but today the slow movement is the highest-profile business.

Cittaslow is Italian for "slow city" and is an international network of towns founded in Italy in October 1999 initiated by Carlo Petrini. The Cittaslow movement aims to rediscover aspects of urban life by creating space for "the good, slow life", with room for thought, a sustainable environment, and quality food, music and building culture.The concept is about protecting the environment, about promoting local goods and production, and about preserving the uniqueness of the individual city.

Food Market in Bra, 2 Nov 2007, By Rachel Black, Flickr, Creative Commons

In 2004, the University of Gastronomic Science opened outside the city of Bra. The university's objective is to pass on the Slow Food movement ideas - that everyone has a fundamental right to good food. Meaning local food produced under local traditions by small local producers. The focus is on the season's locally produced raw materials, to preserve the diversity of raw materials and simply good food must be produced with minimal environmental impact. Hence, the Slow Food movement is a response to the fast food concept, to the mass production and standardisation of food with no local characteristic. The blooming of the Cittaslow movement has meant that organic farming is on the way forward in Italy. The objective of Cittaslow towns is to combat stress, noise, traffic and to promote bio architecture, production of local products without chemical additives, protect local traditions and small shops with the old craft traditions. 

"Regeneration and re-use are priorities, rather than modernisation and redevelopment for the sake of change" Cittaslow Charter 1999

"A network of towns where quality of life is important" Cittaslow Charter 1999

The Cittaslow movement has eventually inspired network in other countries. In 2009, 14 countries, including in Germany, Norway, England and Canada, had at least one officially Cittaslow community.

Read more:
>> Johannesburg: Organic farming for everyone
>> Humlebæk: From Vegetable Patch to Down the Hatch
>> San Francisco: From farm to fork
>> New York: Urban fish farms

Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014