Over the past 50 years, in many urban areas, the sense of community has essentially been lost. These spaces, which people once considered their own because of familiar association, collective responsibility, and shared uses, no longer serve their everyday functions as “loved places.” Numerous factors have contributed to this decline, including lifestyle and demographic changes, city building and development, new consumption patterns, residential and commercial delocalization, and dispersive transport and communication technologies. Despite the beauty and genius loci of its extraordinary historic center, the city of Perugia is also affected by these modern urban changes.
One of the central Perugia neighborhoods, Borgo Bello, has made significant changes over the past five years. As the resident population has increased and diversified, Borgo Bello’s neighborhood association has orchestrated numerous innovative commercial and cultural activities and events to revitalize its territory. The secret to this urban success story is a creative intentional mix of promotional events, networking, collaboration, and community participation by the people who live, work, and study in the city.
Qualitative Community Research Project Description
In this course, you will learn about the history of Perugia and examine how the past has shaped the cultural, political, and social landscape of the city today by working closely with neighborhood Borgo Bello and University of Perugia DSA3 Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences Department. The course will utilize participatory planning workshops, comparative readings and discussions, and urban exploration exercises to understand the relationships between people, places, actions, and values. You will explore firsthand the neighborhood’s spaces, meet and interview key actors, and attend as well as organize Borgo Bello community cultural activities to learn and practice transforming vital urban spaces into friendly, inclusive communities. At the end of the semester, students will present their project to the Umbra community.
Visit Placemaking & Learning in Perugia to read passed students’ project development, reflections, and insights.
Watch this video featuring Umbra students and community members on a project called ‘Salotta in vista.’
In this course, you will
- gain awareness of recent developments and social evolution in Perugia’s historic center and neighborhoods;
- develop an appreciation and understanding of relationships between persons, perceptions, activities, identity, and public open space;
- apply newly acquired understanding and skills in civic engagement approaches and methods in interaction with community partners;
- collaborate with the local neighborhood association and interested inhabitants in the development of initiatives aimed at revitalizing urban space and furthering community development; and
- meaningfully and intentionally reflect on past and current community interactions and how the experience relates to course material and future development in cities and neighborhoods where you will live.
Mandatory course reader