A Barricade Turned Attraction

When we discussed what makes a good space on the first day of class we forgot to mention walls. Specifically, ones that were constructed in the second half of the 3rd century B.C. Perugia’s sidewalks are downright divergent from any other sidewalk I have started my day on. In expectation of arriving in Perugia, my parents and I had multiple conversations about staying safe while in Perugia. To be honest, though, my father and I were pleasantly surprised by how comforting and sound we found the city to be. After reading Jane Jacob’s article I reflected on what caused this sensation of safety for us. My father’s words were “I bet this city will be the safest place you travel to on your abroad adventure.” In her article, she discusses how “sidewalks, their bordering uses, and their users, are active participants in the drama of civilization versus barbarism in cities.”

Walls are built generally to keep the strangers (or barbarians) out and to protect the people within them. They are the oldest form of safety for towns. From what I have read and we have discussed in class, Jane’s theory relies on bringing people together not blocking them out. Jane’s ideas were considered revolutionary so it makes sense that in the 3rd century B.C. they weren’t thinking about attracting people to restaurants, bars, or shops. The ideas were revolutionary, but it is a simple concept. It really should not have taken me this long in life to understand the concept of when your scared go to a public place. The city has manifestly changed their way of thought over these past 2,318 years. Most of the walls have been destroyed over the years, but the remaining walls are now an attraction- not a barricade.

The streets are lined with numerous attractions for people. At all times of the day, people flock the city center as this is where I live I cannot comment on the outside of the walls. Now that I understand the combination of activity and safety I am excited to explore Borgo Bello right on the other side of the wall. Thus far, placemaking has made me start to think about the impact the design and use have on the feelings certain spaces bring to someone. From Jane, I learned that this is a complex task and I am very excited to take part in it. IMG_2339

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