After living in the center of Perugia for three weeks I finally made it down the staircase by my house to Borgo Bello. As we got to the last stair there was an immediate shift in the air, and it felt like we had arrived in a completely separate space. There was a distinct difference coming from the center of town to this outside area. It felt more alive if that makes sense, more lived in. We were met with a bustling street, and numerous cars which I was beginning to forget used roads too. I had actually visited this section of Perugia the day before our class trip; however, at that time I was unaware that our Placemaking class would be centered around this area. Particularly, a hidden gem of a terrace with one of the best views in Perugia (as seen in the picture). As we explored and snooped about I was completely taken with this charming place-from the shops and scenery to the locally grown “zealous nut,” Señor Ambrosi aka the Mayor of Borgo Bello.
The Mayor took us on a personal tour down the backstreets of Borgo Bello where he told us childhood stories of hide and seek and the places the prettiest ladies used to live. As he spoke it was impossible to ignore the love he has for this place, as well as his desire to share the beauty and potential of Borgo Bello not only with us, but with the rest of the community.
But, how do you do that? How do you make a place into a place instead of just a space?
The answer to that question is not singular or obvious, however, that is what the course and place-making attempts to do in general.
It’s a way of planning and creating that brings a new life to the space, and allows it to become a place for individuals and the community for the first time or for a second, third, etc. time. The key is to get people excited and invested/reinvested in the space. This not only builds a place; it builds a community, a kind of “social capital” if you will.
Therefore, the goal for the semester is to use this beautiful terrace with a view to its full potential, and get the community invested and excited in the space again or for the first time!