Pleasant Peripheries

15 September 2013

Peripheries are often seen in a negative fashion. But this is not always the case: city outskirts are beautiful places when their humanity and the dignity of the people living there can express themselves fully. What makes peripheries ugly places is perhaps the unpleasant design of those who planned them or manage them, or maybe their misuse by unpleasant people.

In ancient Greek the word “periphery” signified circumference, a circle, namely the most perfect of all shapes. Why can’t peripheries become the most perfect form of a city today? We need to do something to better our surrounding areas and our outskirts; we must solve the problem of peripheries that often affects the most charming ancient cities. It is not a difficult task, if we place and keep at the centre of our thoughts and actions the humanity of people.

Today, in spite of some issues, the people living in the suburbs are spontaneous and outgoing. We must be able to envisage and imagine a new concept of periphery, a place that respects the dignity of human beings and things alike.

This vision is expressed at the best and at the deepest by the concept of "Pleasant Peripheries". Regardless of their location, peripheries must be pleasant places, where people acknowledge their identity and find meaning in their existence. We need to do everything that it takes, everyone according to their capabilities. We can act on all kinds of suburbs, whether residential or industrial, be it a new location to be designed or an existing area.

The industrial periphery of Solomeo, which was recently redesigned with the Project for Beauty, has proven that all this is achievable. The road crossing those outskirts has become a tree-lined boulevard in the middle of a park and it has therefore been suitably renamed: it used to be "via dell’Industria" (Industry Street) and now it is called "via Parco dell’Industria" (Industrial Park Street).