I started Placemaking class at Umbra Institute having a rough idea of what we were actually going to do together. I chose to do it just because it felt like something original and challenging.
After a brief and useful introduction about the subject and the project concerning Borgo Bello Association, my doubts were starting to fade but still I was curios to go out of class.
In fact, walking through Borgo Bello streets, made the difference.
I could feel the potential of this beautiful area of Perugia historical centre, probably one of the most beloved. I could clearly understand the main intention of the people working for the association, which is basically make the principles of placemaking come alive. That means draw the neighbors and the people passing by, into the small streets of the lane inviting them to join the activities and share the ideas that could make Borgo Bello even a more beautiful and interesting place. To be honest, I have already been there so many times since I am living and studying in Perugia but I have never consider it from that prospective.
Based of what I learnt until now, in any placemaking project what is crucial is not just paying attention to the reality of the place, which is important. Also you should focus on those elements that identify a community. One of them is the sense of belonging. As soon as the place seems to be no more attractive, no more safe and to put it simply no more worth living, people begin to loose that special bond that originally encouraged them to live (or keep living) there. This is what mostly happened to Borgo Bello but thanks to the enthusiasm and to the work of Orfeo Ambrosi (the President of the association) and his team, which includes anyone who wants to enjoy the project, those desert alleys have been renewed.
I could see some special handmade works such as the Orto Bello urban garden in “Via Fiorenzuola” and the lovely terrace in “Via Cortona”. I just loved the idea of transforming it in a sort of foyer, where the spectators coming from the nearby theatre (“Teatro Bicini”) can get together while having a glass of wine. I think all these ideas can make the citizens of Perugia so willing to discover an alternative way to live in their own town. The advantage of being one of those citizen is to experience their feelings about the town.
As Jane Jacobs said “..cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody”. This is the starting point.
It is truly hard to sum up what I expect to do from now on, I just hope to be helpful and I’m looking forward to see how much more we can do for Borgo Bello and it’s neighborhood.