I found last weeks’s community meeting at the puppet theater to be extremely valuable. I had my doubts about the community members’ interest in our project, let alone showing up to the meeting. I was surprised by their enthusiasm and excitement for our project, as well as, their good ideas and suggestions. I found it helpful to our project to hear their opinions because this terrace is for them, not us. The community members at the meeting agreed with a lot of our ideas, but really resonated with pushing the parking away from the edge of the terrace. This was not something discussed in depth in class, but I think we all agree that it is an important first step to a successful terrace. I think all of the ideas talked about can be accomplished this semester.
On the cultural side, I thought this meeting was extremely interesting. I loved being able to observe what an Italian community meeting looks like. It was very eye opening to see their reactions, agreements and disagreements, etc. In America, from what I have observed, in community meetings, people not directly asked for their opinions. Usually the meeting is conducted by higher up people that present the problems and solutions to the people. Then there is a very structured open forum to discuss what the people want. Yet, in the end, most often than not, the conclusions are made by the officials, not the people. In our meeting with the Borgo Bello, everyone’s voice was heard and accounted for. I think that this kind of participatory collaboration is the most effective in drawing conclusions. We left our meeting with a set of accomplishable goals and the support and help of the local people. I can’t wait to get started!