Opposites by Haley Donathan

After completing Jane Jacob’s reading during the second week of class, I was slightly shocked by some of the ideas she proposed. Her argument makes sense, but I never would have thought that the solution to unsafe streets was to put more people on the streets. Reading the article “The Uses of Sidewalks Assimilating Children,” impacted me in the same way.

I have always associated parks with children. I often picture a playground with tons of little children playing and laughing. When I was growing up, I would play at the park a few blocks from my house and never felt anything but safe. This may have been the small, community-oriented town I lived in or the fact that I only played at the park during daylight, but I never felt unsafe. For many other children, this feeling of safety isn’t felt. The article reported a large amount of gangs and bullying happening in parks, stating that, “in September 1959 summed up the worst adolescent gang outbreaks of the past decade in the city, each and every one was designated as having occurred in a park.” This shocked me! Parks are built to be a safe haven for children to laugh and play. They shouldn’t be filled with gangs and violence.

So what do we need to do in Borgo Bello to make it a safe place for children? We find ways for the public to always be aware. Everyone assumes that parks are safe so little surveillance is provided. Streets have natural surveillance with all of the cars passing through and the shop owners always looking out. We need to not only work on the Terrazza Via del Cortona to make it suitable for children, but we need to work on the surrounding areas and streets to make them more attractive. We need to bring all community members, not just parents, to the area.

Before I read this article, I would have wanted a secluded area for children. The less people passing, the less people to harm them. This article has taught me that the opposite is true. The more people passing, the more people to keep children safe. “Spaces and equipment do not rear children… only people rear children.” Instead of solely focusing on providing equipment for the children, we need to do the opposite and continue to focus on the community as a while to keep the area safe and always have eyes on the terrace.

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