Clean air, creative types and all-round laid back lifestyle have earned Katoomba an international award at the world’s first “Slowness Forum” in South Korea.
Katoomba is part of the international “Cittaslow” (slow town) movement. Local convenor Nigel Bell was on hand in Jeonju – itself a slow town – to collect the award on behalf of the town, alongside cities in Italy, Spain and Korea.
Mr Bell said the forum praised Katoomba and the Mountains as a lifestyle model of world excellence.
“They noted the clean air, the natural environment, a creative culture, an engaged community and effective governance as a fundamental part of the international Cittaslow movement.”
Cittaslow started in Italy in 1999. It aims to improve the quality of life in towns by slowing down the overall pace in a world increasingly fast and furious.
Katoomba became a Cittaslow slow town in 2007.
In Korea to accept the award, Mr Bell said: “It’s too easy to overlook what lifestyle and community qualities we have – until you compare it with places elsewhere. It’s awards like this that helps us all focus on what matters … and how fortunate we are.”
“Katoomba and the Blue Mountains has always attracted people for the scenery, the seasons, the quiet, the creative, the community … and much more. We Cittaslow locals appreciate it as an antidote to the stress of fast and expensive city living.”
Mr Bell said the Mountains was described at the forum as a paradise compared to so much of the world. The leadership from council, business, Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise and the arts was particularly noted.
The award followed a study tour earlier this year by 45 mayors and city officials from South Korea who came to see and assess Katoomba.
“With the support of council, state and federal MPs, BMEE plus a range of community speakers, the study tour obviously made a strong and lasting impression.
“Katoomba is now is being featured on the international scene as one of the most special places in the world to visit, stay or live,” Mr Bell said.