What Makes a Place a Place? By: Shelby Goode

What makes a place a place? After a few weeks in our Placemaking class I could name a few aspects that makes a place desirable. The people, businesses, seating, location, convenience, aesthetic, and accessibility are just some of the considerations when creating a place that attracts other people to spend their time.

After observing the terrace in the Borgo Bello neighborhood one afternoon, I did some thinking about how we could make even more improvements to this space we want to turn in to a place known throughout Perugia for its scenic view, location to shops, and relaxing atmosphere. It takes a variety of dedicated people to make an empty space a place utilized by the community.

In class as we discussed the issues of lighting and use by drug dealers, it came to my attention that in order to change the atmosphere and utilization of a place it takes more than just a group of dedicated persons. It additionally requires a change in the mindset of the community. This can be one of the most difficult tasks when recreating a place to be a spot of attraction by visitors and the community.

In going forward with our class and thinking of ideas to continue the expanded use of the terrace in Borgo Bello, we not only have to consider the mindset of the community at large but take in to consideration our perspective as visitors. Never before did I think about the collection and construction of populating main cities, piazzas, streets, neighborhoods, etc. but it can be complex and difficult.

I strongly believe in reflection being one of the key aspects to projects of Placemaking. Being able to critique your actions, learning from mistakes, and moving forward with expansive plans for a better future is what I think makes a place a place. Listening to what others say and ensuring that various voices are considered are what transforms empty spaces into populated, business filled, aesthetic, and accessible places. The terrace seems to have come so far, but reflection is just as important. Hopefully by the end of this year we will be able to reflect on the work we complete and allow the next semester of students to build on the projects we built on as well.

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