Placemaking in Borgo Bello, By Marc Capparelli

Before visiting the space in Borgo Bello as well as the coffee shop, we talked a lot about placemaking and what it is. Placemaking is how we approach the design, management, and planning of a public space. It involves us asking questions and listening to those who live around the space. By talking to members of the community, we truly get an understanding of the space as well as how the community interacts with each other. It is the community members who know best about what they want and how things operate. That is why when we are placemaking and integrating ourselves firsthand with the community, we can work small scale, just as Jane Jacobs discusses, in order to understand the people’s desires and their aspirations. When we go in and talk up front with the people, we can get them to reflect in the way we do and ask the questions that we do. How can we change what we have right now, and how can me make it better?

With these ideas running through my head, I was inspired when we went to the space and coffee shop. We walked to the space together as a team and met up with three people who are also going to cooperate with us in the placemaking. The girl who took this class last year told us a lot about what they had done and how we can keep on making things better. Sitting down with everyone at the coffee shop also kept me interests high as we all discussed ideas for the space. We talked about an outdoor “room-like” area with seats and benches for people to relax or even (half-jokingly) a giant pool with two lanes for people to swim in. Now, a pool there is unrealistic but it is often the most outlandish and absurd ideas that can create the very best ones. If not a pool, why not a fountain? Or a pond with fish? Or a fish tank? Or a water fountain for people to drink from? The possibilities are endless when you ha
ve such a big space with a beautiful view where all these people coming up with ideas.

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A photo of the view from our space

Obviously, there is much work to be done. With all the dog poop and the fact that a man came and peed there while we were all together, this can seem like a difficult task. Yet, it is the most challenging tasks that are often the most rewarding because in the end, you’ve created something wonderful and became closer to those in the community and to those who helped you in the first place.

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