Slowing Down is the first step to a great neighborhood—otherwise you’re too busy to enjoy it.
YOU CAN LIVE in the greatest neighborhood in the universe but if you can’t take the time to stop in the cozy corner coffee shop, wander over to farmer’s market on Saturday morning, chat for a minute with your neighbor in front of the grocery store then you might as well live on the dark side of the moon. And, chances are, if too many people in your neighborhood have the same busy schedule, then things won’t stay great for too long.
MAKING THE TIME to appreciate all that’s going on all around each day is one of the best investments you can make. Think twice about signing up for another class across town. You could learn quite a bit more exploring around your home each evening. Trade the treadmill and stationary bicycle for a sidewalk and bike ride. Cancel your cable bill and spend the savings at local diners and taverns, where you’ll get more important news, far more interesting stories and even more opinionated sports coverage. Whole new worlds will open up and you’ll feel more relaxed to boot.
A NUMBER OF CITES ACROSS ITALY came to realize how importance the pace of life is in keeping their communities vital, and launched the Cittaslow movement, known internationally as the League of Slow Cities in 2000. Associated with the burgeoning slow food movement, more than 100 cities (in Brazil, Norway, Sweden, Japan, Greece, Switzerland, Great Britain and Canada as well as Italy) joined the network united in the belief that the good life is an unhurried experience. Proudly displaying the Slow Cities logo around town, they pledged to:
— restrain racing traffic by limiting automobiles and promoting leisurely transportation alternatives such as bikes and pedestrian zones;
— encourage businesses, schools and government to improve the quality of life by allowing people to take time off for a long midday meal;
— promoting good food by sponsoring farmers’ markets and preserving local culinary traditions;
— curtain noise pollution and visual blight by limiting car alarms, outdoor advertising and unsightly signs.
“We are not against the modern world,” explains mayor Paolo Sautrnini of the slow city of Greve in Tuscany. “We just want to protect what is good in our lives and keep our unique town character.”
Resources: “Slow Cities league”:www.cittaslow.org