Terrace Reflection and Next Steps

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Reflecting on the previous work of our peers from Umbra we spent a good portion of last class considering what we, as a group, believe are the pros, cons and next steps in terms of action in the terrace location. There were a few notable points that the group made: the beautiful view was a definite pro, while the visibility and accessibility of the the space was a con for almost everyone. The next steps that my group focused on were possible events, structures or edits to last year’s plan. It was interesting to hear about the experience of our peers from last semester. The book they presented to the city of Perugia was both beautifully made and well thought out. I liked having the architectural renderings of the terrace and a visual of what the goals of the community are. I’m particularly interested in the participatory planning process used to design the terrace plans and look forward to working with community members to take next steps.

We recommended: (1) a regular schedule of events (2) more publicity and relationships with local vendors and (3) some kind of semi-permanent path from the main street towards the terrace.

In class we also discussed the primary characteristics of Placemaking as defined by the Project for Public Spaces. It was helpful to have a clear definition with examples of what Placemaking is (inclusive, adaptable, and community driven) and what it is not (imposed from above, privatized and a blanket solution). My appreciation of this process and ideology grew once understood the clearly anti-capitalist methods and revolutionary approach to transforming space for and by the people. Looking at the list that compares what Placemaking is and is not, I see a clear distinction that Jane Jacobs was referring to. She recognized the flaws of ‘traditional’ city planning processes in that they often have no benefit to the lives of the people they effect. The pillars of capitalism (profit focused, top-down economics, decision-making by investors or owners, privatized ownership over the means of production etc.) are present throughout US society and even city planners and architects are influenced by this system of oppression. Placemaking is one example of an anti-capitalist anti-oppression method of improving quality of life for communities. I look forward to learning how this ideology transforms into actions and physical spaces in the coming weeks.

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