Norwich Should Be a SLOW CITY

5 01 2010

What’s a SLOW CITY? See for yourself.

I see it as a city that appreciates and fosters its own specialness, one that rejects the definition of growth as the opening of bigger better high street “name” operations and instead builds its growth by fostering local institutions of all types, a city that trades on and has confidence in its own uniqueness.

Norwich would make an ideal SLOW city because it has retained so much of of its structural heritage, and even a good deal of its documentary and material culture heritage.

Norwich has great difficulty in becoming a FAST city because of its map inside the old city walls. The streets are narrow and riddled with even smaller pathway-sized passages which are often really the most direct way of getting from one place to another. Almost always it is actually impossible to take the most direct route in a car. Often, you can really only do it on foot, because you’d even have to walk a bicycle most of the way.

In addition, the more Norwich tries to be a FAST city, the more of its regional treasures it risks losing. Many have already gone down, though not so long ago that they could not be revived with just a bit of concentrated effort. And the results would be a much more interesting city than a FAST Norwich would ever be.

I’m not unbiased. As an outsider, coming all the way from the US to Norwich only 5 years ago, it now amazes me how much more I know about Norwich’s textile heritage than many of the locals know.

At the moment, all that heritage can be retrieved and used to build a marvelous SLOW CITY. Note that being a SLOW CITY does not mean rejecting advances in technology or abstaining from filling gaps that cannot be filled by institutions already existing. It does not mean becoming a “replica” town, a town oriented almost entirely toward tourism. It means becoming Norwich, a place like no other place because its treasures and features of interest (to locals in particular) exist nowhere else.

I hope to stay and make Pocktorian Textiles a part of that picture of Norwich.