What is the Mediterranean? A distributed knowledge model. It’s easy to explain. Just pick up a net. A simple fishing net. And ask yourself a few questions. Who invented it? And why is it always so similar, from one side of the Mediterranean to the other? Why is it built with the same logic in Spain, Greece, Italy, the Middle East, North Africa, the Aegean islands, on the shores of Turkey? For one reason: the Mediterranean has never been a closed sea. But always open. To knowledge, to shared knowledge.

Amedeo Feniello and Alessandro Vanoli, Storia del Mediterraneo in 20 oggetti, Laterza, 2017

At Slow Fish, Mediterranean cities exchange knowledge and share their challenges and solutions.

Genoa is the perfect context for this meeting.

The identity of Mediterranean cities is shaped by the sea, from their architecture to their culture and gastronomy. Yet when thinking about this relationship, what is striking is its fragility.

The menace of modernity

Human activity along the Mediterranean coast is a major contributor to the degradation of marine ecosystems. The pollution problems that Mediterranean cities have faced and still face are varied in nature, from sewage and urban runoff to solid waste generated in urban centers along the coastline to industrial effluents, which contaminate the sea.

The urbanization of the coastline is a major problem in the Mediterranean region, often resulting in a loss of biodiversity through the destruction and physical alteration of habitats. Problems related to coastal urbanization are widespread throughout the Mediterranean and are generally caused by unrestrained development, particularly of tourist infrastructure.

Mediterranean civilization

How can we make cities and human settlements more inclusive, durable and sustainable? The impact of cities on marine ecosystems is obvious, as is the concentration of critical social and economic issues. But cities can also be major agents of change, and this realization is gaining traction among city governments around the world.

There are inspiring examples that are setting a new standard, experimenting with innovative practices and a systemic approach. We want to highlight the value of these initiatives, and bring together different models to facilitate a collective reflection on the present and future of our cities, and on the path toward urban regeneration.

Slow Fish 2023 is organized by Slow Food and the Liguria Region, with the support of the City of Genoa. We’re in the Porto Antico of Genoa from June 1-4. Sign up to the Slow Food newsletter for the latest updates. #SlowFish2023

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