It is suffice to say that this weekend was a learning experience for me. I found out not only that I could sand, stain, and assist in the building of outdoor furniture, but also that I should probably layer up if I ever plan on pursuing similar undertakings in the future.
This past Sunday, February 11th, members of the Placemaking class participated in an annual terrace cleanup/ up-keep/ pot-luck at the Living Room with a View terrace in the Borgo Bello neighborhood. We were assisted not only by our professors, but by other members of the community who hope to maintain the park for the general public. We set out to generally clean up areas of the park which needed a bit of TLC, as well as hang signs; we ended up building an entirely new piece of furniture for the terrace as well.
The group was split, as some assisted on the terrace and others were granted the task of hanging signs for the Living Room. The signs which were hung on the main street of Corso Cavour were created by members of the previous Placemaking class, but were not able to be hung last semester. I hope that our class, too, will be granted the ability to make signs for the terrace as well, as I know a few classmates have expressed interest in doing so.
After the terrace had been cleaned and the signs had been hung, we proceeded to collect some wooden pallets from another of the Placemaking areas in Borgo Bello. The idea of building a new piece of furniture was presented, and we collectively took off with it. Myself and ZZ were first tasked with sanding the pallets, and although I had not previously worked with such equipment, I was excited to try. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I wasn’t that awful at the task, and even sent a message to our family group chat, as I really wanted my dad to see that I was building a chair in Italy (!!)
The group worked well to complete various tasks related to the assembly of the furniture. Cohesively, we were able to trade off tasks and delegate responsibilities among ourselves so that we were all able to feel useful. After we had completed the task, we gathered for a quick group brunch which we all thoroughly enjoyed. I can say that looking back, this was an entirely positive experience for not only myself, but likely for everyone involved. It felt so nice to be part of some small change that might ultimately have a community-wide impact. Even if one person is affected by the work that we had completed on Sunday, then it was completely worth it, in my opinion.
My personal hope is that we have more of these clean-up days in the future, and maybe even try to spread the word that such events will be occurring. Placing flyers on the streets or within popular local establishments may persuade the community to become more involved with the space which the previous Placemaking classes have succeeded in creating. I think that this semester, we should attempt to focus our energy on increasing community engagement, and delegating certain responsibilities so that our presence within the space will not have to be as necessary as it currently is. I can say, however, that I genuinely can’t wait to take part in a similar community-wide event in the future — this time I’ll just have to wear a few extra sweatshirts.