Turkey’s first Cittaslow (Slow City) has been named, joining a growing international network of towns linked in their commitment to a slow and simple life. The seaside town of Seferihisar along the Aegean coast has become the world’s 121st Slow City, joining towns in 18 other countries including Italy, Germany, Norway, Poland, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.
Cittaslow towns celebrate and support local specialties, traditions and cultural diversity, while resisting the fast options of an increasingly homogenized world. Towns must meet a number of criteria before being awarded the title, and in becoming Cittaslow, must agree to work towards goals that will improve the quality of life of residents.
Seferihisar’s economy is largely based on agriculture, in particular the cultivation of tangerines and satsumas, and increasingly on tourism. Residents believe that by joining the network, they will see more visitors to the district and an increase in economic and socio-cultural improvements, while still being able to protect the town’s unique cultural aspects.
“The Slow City concept is very appropriate for Turkey”, said Seferihisar’s Mayor Tunç Soyer. “The concept of a Slow City…opposes the standardization of cities by the norms of globalization and capitalism and celebrates the protection of traditions.” The Mayor added he hoped that Seferihisar will open the path of Slow City networks to other places in Turkey.
The Cittaslow network has also been joined recently by first Slow City in the USA. The Californian wine country town of Sonoma was awarded the title for qualities such as its promotion of renewable energy, presence of farmers’ markets, gardens, organic farms and wineries and its efforts in preserving the town. “It’s a wonderful honor for Sonoma Valley to be invited to participate, and to be named first American Cittaslow,” said the town’s mayor Ken Brown, “Sonoma takes this honor seriously, and we’re proud to further Cittaslow’s philosophy and goals as we move forward.”
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