First Impressions in Borgo Bello by Valen Bidleman

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Before the Placemaking class went down to visit the neighborhood of Borgo Bello, the district in which we focus our work, I had not even thought to adventure down here beforehand. I wish I had sooner. Borgo Bello was not busy at the day or time we walked, but there were still many people around and many things to see. Despite its rough history, described to us on our walk and in Viviana Lorenzo’s text as “a favorite spot for the pushers of the city, undisturbed in their trade” at night, Borgo Bello stuck me as a nice neighborhood.

If Borgo Bello went from its difficult past–although in some ways it is still present–the neighbors must love their neighborhood a lot because this kind of work can only be done by working together. We met the head of the Borgo Bello association, one the “few Zealous Nuts” which our text said was required to improve and maintain a neighborhood.  Those few who truly care about their community can make a world difference in the lives of those around them and their contributions are invaluable.

While I knew in theoretical terms the importance of placemaking, looking around at the separate sites from previous classes, and hearing and reading the stories of the past of Borgo Bello really solidified it for me. The neighborhood was lively despite the weather and time of day, with plenty of children out with their parents, even in those “back alleys” or “sketchy side streets” which we hesitated to explore but did anyway with great satisfaction. While Borgo Bello is a part of a city landscape, I couldn’t help but think of my own small, rural town, and the way people now are trying to come together and improve conditions which have been steadily deteriorating for the past years. I hope to be able to bring a few ideas home to my family and neighbors who are much more passionate than myself for my own neighborhood from my future experiences working on our projects for the Borgo Bello community.

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About valendbid

Trans history lover, history and spanish student at Hollins University.
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