Just before my short Christmas break from posting I tentatively introduced (HERE) a new theme for the blog ie. exploring a slower approach to life. It’s not that I’m going to radically alter the content of the blog, far from it in fact, but I do hope to simplify the blog, making it easier to navigate (by merging, re-writing and re-visiting previous posts) and generally looking to make connections between new and old content.


I’ll be writing more about why I think there’s a need to slow down, draw breath, savour and reflect in upcoming posts, meanwhile over Christmas I read a little more about the international Slow Movement (as time, kids, crackers and cake permitted) and I’ve started to work on a few principles that I’m hoping will direct the content of my blog postings in 2014.


As the international Slow Movement is not organised or controlled by a single organisation, a defining characteristic of the Movement is that it is propounded, and its momentum maintained, by individuals or small groups who constitute an expanding global community of Slow. These different groups coalesce around a number of different yet interlinked goals or principles. Slow Food UK for example uses:

Stop. Think. Eat. Asking that you do 3 things:

1. Choose local producers.
2. Opt for sustainable sources.
3. Make a small change; it makes a difference. See (HERE) for more information.
Whereas SLOWlab, proponents of SLOW design, go with:

1. Reveal:  Slow design reveals spaces and experiences in everyday life that are often missed or forgotten, including the materials and processes that can easily be overlooked in an artifact’s existence or creation.

2. Expand: Slow design considers the real and potential “expressions” of artifacts and environments beyond their perceived functionality, physical attributes and lifespans.

3. Reflect: Slowly-designed artifacts and environments induce contemplation and ‘reflective consumption.’ 

4. Engage: Slow design processes are “open source” and collaborative, relying on sharing, co-operation and transparency of information so that designs may continue to evolve into the future.

5. Participate: Slow design encourages people to become active participants in the design process, embracing ideas of conviviality and exchange to foster social accountability and enhance communities.

6. Evolve: Slow design recognizes that richer experiences can emerge from the dynamic maturation of artifacts and environments over time. Looking beyond the needs and circumstances of the present day, Slow design processes and outcomes become agents of both preservation and transformation.


And SLOWcity go into bureaucratic overload with the following eye-watering list of goals:

A. Environmental Goals

A1 Apparatus to test air quality and report on conditions
A2 Policies to maintain the quality of water supplies and ensure pollution free water in rivers and waterways
A3 Plans for the implementation of new composting technology and the promotion of home composting
A4 Mechanisms to measure light pollution and action plans to reduce it
A5 Incentives to encourage the use of alternative sources of energy
A6 Mechanisms to measure electromagnetic pollution and action plans to reduce it
A7 Apparatus to measure noise pollution and policies to reduce it
A8 Policies to eliminate advertising and signage clutter
A9 Application of a formal Environmental Management System
A10 Participation in and support for local Agenda 21 projects

B. Infrastructure Goals

B1 Existence of well maintained public green spaces
B2 Development and implementation of an integrated traffic management and access strategy that addresses the needs of pedestrians and conserves the historic character of the town
B3 Disability friendly access to public places and public offices
B4 Infrastructure that facilitates alternative mobility such as walking and cycling
B5 Easily accessible public conveniences
B6 Places throughout the town for people to sit down and rest
B7 Customer friendly and uniform opening hours for all council offices
B8 Provision of a Public Relations service to answer media and other queries about the town
B9 Provision of a customer response service to answer public queries about Cittaslow
B10 Initiatives that encourage local businesses to open at times that coincide with local residents’ needs

C. Urban Fabric Goals

C1 Plans to promote the maintenance, conservation and enhancement of historic areas, buildings and artefacts of cultural and local significance
C2 Policies to protect property and ensure the safety of the community
C3 Initiatives to encourage the use of recyclable or reusable crockery and cutlery in local establishments
C4 Policies to ensure effective litter and waste management including the provision of sympathetically designed litter bins
C5 Initiatives to plant environment enhancing plants in public and private gardens
C6 Provision and promotion of interactive websites where the public can communicate with the administrators of the town
C7 Policies to promote eco-friendly architecture
C8 Production of a Town Plan, Conservation Area Appraisal, Town Design Statement or similar to promote appreciation of historic centres and to make them user-friendly

D. Local Produce & Products Goals

D1 Maintenance of an up to date register of locally produced goods and producers within the natural hinterland of the town
D2 Organisation of events and training to raise public awareness and appreciation of local cultural and artistic traditions and skills
D3 Policies to encourage and provide space for farmers and organic markets
D4 Policies to increase awareness of good food and nutrition
D5 Educational programmes to encourage and support organic, traditional and sustainable farming
D6 Policies to preserve and support unique local foodstuffs
D7 Policies to encourage organic farming and the independent quality certification of produce and products
D8 Initiatives to create awareness of traditional foodstuffs
D9 Policies to protect and support goods and produce that represent local traditions

E. Hospitality & Community Goals

E1 Commitment to develop a local Slow Food convivium
E2 Provision of multi-lingual signposting and visitor information
E3 Provision of customer service training for all those providing services to visitors
E4 Development and maintenance of well marked tourist routes with interpretation and information
E5 Production of printed guides about Cittaslow in the town
E6 Promotion of a wide cross section of social events, sports clubs and volunteering opportunities for the whole community
E7 Provision of managed car parks in areas offering easy access to the town centre
E8 Promotion of special local events to encourage local people to enjoy local facilities and participate fully in community life
E9 Promotion of local initiatives that link into Cittaslow goals and principles

F. Cittaslow Awareness Goals

F1 Maintenance of a Directory of local organisations contributing to the aims and objectives of Cittaslow
F2 Display of the Cittaslow logo in public places and on official documents
F3 Promotion of the movement’s aims and objectives to local residents and visitors
F4 Maintenance of a website that illustrates how Cittaslow themes are applied in the town
F5 Promotion of family life and healthy living for all age groups
F6 Provision of monitoring systems and budgets to enhance the town’s score against the Cittaslow membership goals
F7 Collation of media coverage relating to Cittaslow in the town
F8 Initiatives to involve local businesses, organisations and opinion formers in promoting Cittaslow and enhancing the town’s performance against the membership goals
F9 Policies to encourage schools, hospitals, community facilities and local businesses to use local produce, products and services

Tortoise and the Hare_Townsend

All good stuff! So not to be outdone, I thought I’d offer up a few DRAFT guiding principles for a SLOW – erm boat approach too:

1. Simplicity (celebrating paring down, and the aesthetic of the essential): from day boats to tinware, from corrugated iron structures to enamelware to low-impact living and sustainability…

2. Seasonality (celebrating the seasons and the stories and pleasures they bring): from Inlanding Journeys to foraging; from Boat Rallies to canal side flora; from wild gardens to earth/water/air/fire…

3. Silence (celebrating the unspoken word): from essays and short stories to poetry; from books and photography to walking…

4. Sense of Place (celebrating connections, belonging and history): from family life to family boat; from local history to local geology; from family trees to old boats; from microcosm to the night sky…

5. Savouring (celebrating the slow pleasures of life): well-being, health, calm and stillness…

(Mmm, talking of slow pleasures, perhaps I’ll leave it to your own discretion whether you Google the goals of the Slow sex movement!)

More next week… meanwhile previous on this subject posts can be read HERE


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