Morgan's Brain

Dec. 23, 2008 at 2:00am

Should Tacoma Be Slow?

There was an interesting article today on "Slow Cities" - an outgrowth of the Slow Food movement that started about 10 years ago. Canada may get the first "Slow Town" in North America: The Tyee- Slow Towns

In Europe, the movement is called Citta Slow:

Citta Slow applicants must adhere to a set of criteria to qualify. These address the unique qualities of the town, the sustainability of its infrastructure, the preservation of its history and the maintenance of local ways of doing things.

We are looking at slowing down traffic, encouraging street culture, promoting artisanal producers and meeting the sustainability goals set out in the Official Community Plan (OCP). According task force spokesperson Jody Schick, "There is a lot of will in Gibsons with people who have been involved in the OCP. The challenge is getting the boots on the ground and applying that vision statement into action."

Schick sees our group engaging with the public so that artists and musicians can reclaim the town's common spaces allowing children to play outside their fenced yards.

I like the intent and the fact that the criteria is measured for use in the designation. You can't have every city in the country be slow - there has to be some exclusivity to it! And while the European Citta Slow movement focuses on small towns (max pop 50,000), I think there could be a place for Tacoma to make a mark (should a more flexible system be adopted for the US.)

Slow Cities are strong communities that have made the choice to improve the quality of life for their inhabitants.

Check out the list of requirements (below).

What do you think? Should Tacoma aim to be slow?

Environmental Policies
1. Verification of the quality of the air, of water, of the soil within the parameters established by law.
2. Plans for the promotion and dissemination of differentiated refuse collection including urban refuse and special wastes.
3. Dissemination and promotion of industrial and domestic composting
4. Existence of a purification plant for urban or cooperative sewage.
5. Municipal plan for saving energy, with reference particularly to the use of alternative sources of energy (renewable sources, green hydrogen, mini hydroelectric power plant) and producing heat from RSU and biomasses.***
6. Ban on the use of O.G.M. *** in agriculture.
7. Municipal plan for the regulation of commercial art and traffic signs.
8. Systems for controlling electromagnetic pollution.
9. Program for controlling and reducing noise pollution.
10. Systems and programs for controlling light pollution.***
11. Adoption of systems of environmental management (EMAS and ECOLABEL or ISO 9001; ISO 14000, SA 8000 and participation in Agenda 21 projects). ***

Infrastructure policies
1. Plans for improving and for the reclamation of historical centers and/or works of cultural or historical value
2. Plans for safe mobility and traffic
3. Bicycle tracks connecting schools and public buildings.
4. Plans favoring alternative mobility over private transportation and for the integration of traffic with public means of transportation and pedestrian areas (extra-urban car parks linked to public transportation, escalators, moving walkways, rail or cable installations, cycling tracks, pedestrian itineraries providing access to schools, work places, etc.) ***
5. Verification of the application of D.L. 503/’96 to guarantee that public places and those of public interest are accessible for the disabled and the removal of architectural barriers and access to technologies. ***
6. Promotion of programs to facilitate family life and local activities (recreation, sports, activities aimed at creating bonds between school and family, assistance, including home assistance for the elderly and chronically ill, social centers, regulatory plan of municipal business hours, public lavatories). ***
7. Center for medical assistance.
8. Quality green areas respecting the minimum complement of equipment as established by the D.M. 1444/’68 and service infrastructures (interconnecting green areas, play grounds, etc.)
9. Plan for the distribution of merchandise and the creation of “commercial centers for natural products”.
10. Agreement with the shopkeepers with regards to the reception and assistance to citizens in trouble: “friendly shops”.
11. Redevelopment of deteriorating urban areas and projects for the reutilization of the city.
12. Program for an urban restyling and upgrading. ***
13. Integration of the U.R.P. functions, with Slow City information windows. ***

Technologies and facilities for Urban Quality
1. Window for bio-architecture and programs for the training of personnel assigned to the information project for the promotion of bioarchitecture ***
2. Equipping the city with cables for optical fiber and wireless systems
3. Adoption of systems for monitoring electromagnetic fields.
4. Providing refuse containers in keeping with the environment and the landscape and removal according to established timetables.
5. Programs and promotion for planting public and private places with important environmentally suitable plants, preferably autochthonous in line with criteria of landscape gardening.
6. Plans for providing services for the citizens (Dissemination of municipal services via internet and plans for creating and educating the citizens in the use of an internet-based civic network).
7. Plan for controlling noise in specifically noisy areas.
8. Plan concerning colors.
9. Promotion of telework.

Safeguarding autochthonous production
1. Plans for the development of organic farming. ***
2. Certification of the quality of artisan produced products and objects and artistic crafts. ***
3. Programs for the safeguarding of artisan and/or artistic craft products in danger of extinction. ***
4. Safeguarding traditional methods of work and professions at a risk of extinction. ***
5. Use of organic products and/or those produced in the territory and the preservation of local traditions in restaurants, protected structures, school cafeterias). ***
6. Programs for educating taste and nutrition in schools in collaboration with Slow Food***
7. Favoring the activities of wine and gastronomic Slow Food Presidia for species and preparations risking extinction. ***
8. Census of the typical products of the territory and support of their commercialization (updating of markets for local products, creation of appropriate spaces). ***
9. Census of trees in the city and enhancing the value of large trees or “historical trees”.
10. Promoting and preserving local cultural events. ***
11. Promoting “urban” and school gardens for autochthonous cultures grown with traditional methods.

1. Training courses for tourist information and quality hospitality***.
2. Using international signs in the tourist signs of the historical centers with guided tourist itineraries. ***
3. Reception policies and plans to facilitate the approach of the visitors to the city and access to information and services (parking, extension/elasticity of opening hours of public offices, etc.) with particular regards to scheduled events.
4. Preparation of “slow” itineraries of the city (brochures, websites, home pages, etc.)
5. Making the tourist operators and storekeepers aware of the need for a transparency of prices and the exhibition of rates outside the business establishments.

1. Campaign to provide the citizens with information on the aims and procedures of what a Slow City is, preceded by information of the intentions of the Administration to become a Slow City***
2. Programs to involve the social fabric in acquiring the “slow” philosophy and the application of Slow City projects and in particular: educational gardens and parks, book facilities, adhesion to the project of the germ plasma bank. ***
1. Programs for the dissemination of the Slow City and Slow Food activities. ****
Extraordinary requisites
- Meeting the requisite, launched by Slow City, for the campaign of “action/identity” of Slow City (obligatory)
- Constitution and support of the Slow Food Presidia (note of merit).
Member cities are required to add the trade mark Cittaslow (Slow City) to their municipal letterhead and to add the contents of the “slow” philosophy to their website.


comments [5]  |  posted under slow, tacoma


by Altered Chords on 12/23/2008 @ 8:50am
Is there any sort of crime metric? Gang metric? Graffiti/tagging metric? Blight metric? Or will this be limited to the North End?

by wstanton on 12/23/2008 @ 11:07pm
Graffiti & tagging shall be applied with brush only. Gangs shall use tai chi methods for all combative activity, as shall law enforcement agencies for the protection of the public. Blight is approved as a properly Slow process.

by Mofo from the Hood on 12/23/2008 @ 11:18pm
Citizens for Urgent Agenda recommendation:
Tacoma Schools AKA Drop-out Factories adopted as the national model for slow student propagation.

by amym on 12/24/2008 @ 12:08am
Sounds fantastic! During these snow days, it has been wonderful to see kids outside playing (sledding) on the streets. It seems so natural that kids have access to public spaces outside their backyards.

by AngelaJossy on 12/24/2008 @ 12:55am
All I know is I felt like I was a little slow when I tried to read through all of that. Ugh.