Successful Placemaking in Borgo Bello by Riley B.

Following our time exploring the beautiful neighborhood of Borgo Bello, as well as the various installations of the C.A.R.O. Vicolo Project, I was extremely inspired by the success of these local projects. I was fascinated by the transformations of these previously neglected spaces into community gardens and lively outdoor terraces. Perhaps even more impressive is the long run success and sustainability of these social spaces, thanks to the help of appreciative locals and passionate members of the Borgo Bello Association. This goes along with the idea that “the success of a public space comes not from its design, but its management” (Why True Neighborhood Building Requires the Dedication of a Few Zealous Nuts, 2). Even if there is an effort made to create a community space intended for public social enjoyment and interaction, it is utterly useless if the inhabitants of the town lack the passion and drive to carry the vision forward. The reason why the vegetable garden continues to thrive and the “living room with a view” is still used as a venue for social events and gatherings is because the leaders in the Borgo Bello Association used a so called “human approach” to incorporate “the wishes of the local community” into their design (The Shared City – Place-Making in Borgo Bello, 1). This specific case of placemaking in Perugia made me wonder if a similar installment in the city of New London, Connecticut (my college town) would be as successful. I think in the U.S. it is more commonly presumed that city spaces or installations intended for public use without surveillance or strict regulations are more likely to end up vandalized or mistreated. An example that reinforces this idea is that a single Christmas tree put up in a “landscaped central mall” area of New York was stolen on the first night, while two trees placed on a more prominent street corner remained untouched (Jacobs, 34). I am interested and excited to learn about the various cultural differences between my experiences in Borgo Bello and in the United States.

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