Puzzle Pieces in Placemaking – Makenzie Lunburg

This weekend, I was able to spend more time using and observing the Terrace space in Borgo Bello. It was a very different feel as far as involvement than I felt during the classes. It was really wonderful to see how everyone took part, how everyone jumped in to help with the various projects. Watching the loveseat come together was really interesting, almost magical in a way. I was tasked with sanding the wood, which was actually strangely enlightening. I had forgotten how much responsibility plays a part in gluing a community or a group together. Once I was given the chance to be a piece of the puzzle, to be needed in the overall curve of the project, I felt myself feeling fully invested. To give a person purpose is to give them a drive, a desire, a “cog in the machine,” so to speak.

This is an inherent desire of humans, as social creatures. Even those who consider themselves “outsiders” clump together with others who define themselves as the same type of personality. I saw this was true while people watching as well, individuals with similar clothing, ages, and styles tended to clump together, sharing a common being or set of interests. It is projects that deal with communities and larger impacts, such as the terrace that brings together people of different ages, different needs, and various backgrounds. Projects and working toward an end goal is an incredible way to bring people together (as is sharing a meal, I may add.) I realized that while the clean-up may not have been mandatory because I had a hand in the creating and building of a piece of the terrace, I know that I will be more inclined to come the next time to be a part of it again. I think this connectivity is the heart of community projects – by giving people a part of the puzzle, they feel responsible and tied to the success of the project. The trick is finding puzzle pieces with the means, know-how and time to commit to the area.

After spending our morning on the terrace, however shady and cold, Christina and I chose to spend the rest of our day outside in the park reading and studying. It was sunny and bright and perfect for people and dog watching. I found myself focusing on the interactions between people and the outdoors, specifically children. Children are fascinated with open spaces, with grassy areas and natural curves in the earth, just as much as a man-made play structure. It was interesting to see how parents seemed almost more relaxed when their children were playing tag on the field or riding bikes through the trees, than when hanging on the monkey bars. While this may not clear up anything specific, I think it is an interesting view to be aware of – to know that nature provides a certain calming beauty that in itself can be attractive and enjoyable. It is about enhancing nature and making it more accessible that truly creates a place.

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