Slow Cities Charter

Slow Food has promoted the birth and constitution of the Slow Cities movement, a group of towns and cities committed to improving the quality of life of their citizens, especially with regard to food issues. During the first meeting of Slow Cities, held in Orvieto in October 1999, the Mayor of Greve in Chianti, Signor Paolo Saturnini was elected coordinator of the movement.

Charter of Association

The development of local communities is based, among other things, on their ability to share and acknowledge specific qualities, to create an identity of their own that is visible outside and profoundly felt inside.

The phenomenon of globalization offers, among other things, a great opportunity for exchange and diffusion, but it does tend to level out differences and conceal the peculiar characteristics of single realities. In short, it proposes median models which belong to no one and inevitably generate mediocrity. Nonetheless, a burgeoning new demand exists for alternative solutions which tend to pursue and disseminate excellence, seen not necessarily as an elite phenomenon, but rather as a cultural, hence universal fact of life. Hence the success of those who have pursued specificness and told the world all about it.

Slow Food, which has set out to build its success and international growth on the quality of life (on taste, first and foremost), and the Cities which have distinguished themselves in this activity have decided to establish an international network of Slow Cities. From now on, such cities will conduct common experiences based on a shared code of tangible, verifiable conduct, embracing everything from good eating to the quality of hospitality, services, facilities and the urban fabric itself. In the field of food and wine in particular, they will make use of the specific competences of Slow Food.

Slow Cities will sign a series of pledges and their compliance therewith will be verified periodically and homogeneously in all cities which adhere to the initiative, in all countries and in all continents.

Slow Cities are cities which:

  • implement an environmental policy designed to maintain and develop the characteristics of their surrounding area and urban fabric, placing the onus on recovery and reuse techniques
  • implement an infrastructural policy which is functional for the improvement, not the occupation, of the land
  • promote the use of technologies to improve the quality of the environment and the urban fabric
  • encourage the production and use of foodstuffs produced using natural, eco-compatible techniques, excluding transgenic products, and setting up, where necessary, presidia to safeguard and develop typical products currently in difficulty, in close collaboration with the Slow Food Ark project and wine and food Presidia
  • safeguard autocthonous production, rooted in culture and tradition, which contributes to the typification of an area, maintaining its modes and mores and promoting preferential occasions and spaces for direct contacts between consumers and quality producers and purveyors
  • promote the quality of hospitality as a real bond with the local community and its specific features, removing the physical and cultural obstacles which may jeopardize the complete, widespread use of a city's resources
  • promote awareness among all citizens, and not only among inside operators, that they live in a Slow City, with special attention to the of young people and schools through the systematic introduction of taste education.

The Cities which adhere to the movement undertake:

  • to promulgate Slow City initiatives and make known the initiatives adopted to achieve the movement's goals
  • to apply, in compliance with specific local characteristics, the joint decisions of Slow Cities and to allow the movement's delegates to verify their application according to assessment parameters to be agreed upon
  • to contribute, where possible, to initiatives of general interest to be agreed upon and to the co-ordination of the movement.

Slow Cities will be entitled:

  • to use the movement's logo and the title of Slow City
  • to grant the use of the logo to all initiatives and activities, public and private, which contribute to the attainment of the movement's goals
  • to participate in the initiatives undertaken inside the movement, using its models and structures according to procedures to be agreed upon.

The movement's activities will be steered by annual meetings which will decide upon:

  • objectives for the year in question, as well as guidelines, assessment and the structures required to measure them
  • initiatives of general interest and the budget needed to sustain activities, co-ordination activities included the formation of a Coordinating Committee, comprising the representatives of Slow Food and promoter Cities and a number of representatives of other Cities, assuring the representation of every country and the appointment of the Chairman of the Coordinating Committee and the Acting Coordinator.

Annual Meetings will be held in a different City every year and will provide an occasion for a general, technical and scientific debate on the problems of the quality of life in cities and for the drawing up of a report on Slow Cities.

Orvieto, October 15, 1999




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