In the midst of climate change, "big box" stores, frequent lack of community connections, and ubiquitous fast and processed food, a flourishing movement stands in stark contrast.
Reporting by Agence France-Presse puts a spotlight on this global movement-the Slow City movement, or "Cittaslow"-which hopes to provide an "antidote against negative globalization."
"Cittaslow is about appreciating what we are and what we have, without being self-destructive and depleting values, money and resources," Pier Giorgio Oliveti, director of Cittaslow, told AFP.
Cittaslow, headquartered in Orvieto, Italy, got its start 15 years ago in a small Tuscan town "to enlarge the philosophy of Slow Food to local communities," and now boasts roughly 160 towns spanning 28 countries.
Cittaslow's website explains that Slow Cities "are strong communities that have made the choice to improve the quality of life for their inhabitants." Specifically, the characteristics of these Slow Cities are that they
In the face of austerity's tightening grip, Oliveti told AFP that the philosophy of Cittaslow can offer part of the solution by "privileging a community's qualities, such as craftmanship, technology or tourism, and using them as a key to overcome the economic crisis."