Downcity Providence

Location: Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Project Categories: UrbanismCodes
Year Started: 1991
Size: 550 acres

Downcity Providence commissioned Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company to prepare a downtown revitalization plan for the City of Providence, Rhode Island. The study area was located in the city core, within a half-mile radius surrounding City Hall.

Through a public charrette process, DPZ initiated the development of a series of modest proposals (as opposed to a single “mega-proposal”) that could be enacted in isolated, independent, and smaller-scale investments. Interventions included:

  • Upgrading downtown streets
  • Improving bus service
  • Formulating strategies to facilitate the purchase of smaller downtown lots, thereby permitting smaller-scale investments by more individuals
  • Redirecting traffic patterns
  • Revising parking methods
  • Creating affordable housing in warehouse lofts for artists and students
  • Relocating city services
  • Increasing retail street frontage for stores, restaurants, and galleries
  • Planting trees and creating pocket parks

The goal of these measures was to attract shoppers, strollers, students, and services to the downtown.

A unique mix of vastly different community groups came together, united by the energy and excitement generated by the charrette, to participate in the week-long design process. The resulting proposals are now in various stages of implementation and have been instrumental to the rebirth and growth of the City of Providence.

In 2004, DPZ was asked by the City and downtown community and business partners to revisit the master plan for the redevelopment of the Washington Street Corridor. Special attention was given to redevelopment opportunities that would connect and complete existing gaps in the urban fabric. The design team identified and designed numerous sites in and along the Washington Street Corridor, including a plan to reconnect the Westside neighborhood, which suffers from reduced access due to I-95.

View down Westminster Street View down Westminster Street Waterfire along the river in Downcity Providence Urban interventions suggested for Emmett Square in Downcity Providence View of Emmett Square Regulating plan for Downcity Providence Study of the existing street frontages in Downcity Providence Targeted interventions in Downcity Providence Special projects identified for action & intervention in Downcity Providence

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