Sidewalks vs. Playgrounds: Perugia and my neighborhood

Like in my first journal, I will be comparing the sidewalks and playgrounds of Perugia and my neighborhood in Cambridge, MA. It is interesting that the center of Perugia is mostly a walking city. There is little physical distinction between the streets and the sidewalks, and unlike in many cities, the sidewalks are quite large and suitable for children. At the same time though, there are few grassy areas suitable for play, and the areas most playground like (ex: the terrace), are poorly situated for adult supervision. The terrace seems more situated for teens and adults who are more comfortable on their own. Although I have not really seen many children playing on the sidewalks in the city center, if I was a parent I would feel safer with my child on the sidewalk than in a playground which offers little surveillance. I feel the reverse in my Cambridge community though. Heavy vehicle traffic means that children should be off of the streets, and if possible, off of the sidewalks too. My neighborhood seems to have kept this approach in mind with its construction of a playground. The playground is as easily accessible as the sidewalks and other potential play areas. It is meant for the children in this apartment complex, and as such is situated with apartment buildings on three of the four sides. One could feel comfortable leaving their child at this playground because a. Most can actually peer out of their apartments to check on their status, and b. the adults actually at the playground are active members of the community who would step in to solve any mayhem that occurs. This classic example of placemaking proves Jane Jocob’s theory that urban areas need to be planned through empirical observation. That is, cities are different from each other and therefore must be planned differently.

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