Arnold B. Chace, The City of Providence/The Providence Foundation
About Downcity Providence
In the 1980s and 90s, while other cities concentrated resources into single, mega-projects like festival market and waterfront malls, Providence took another approach with DPZ’s 1990 Downcity Master Plan. Through a public charrette process, the design team quickly recognized that smarter, more strategic, and smaller-scale investments and policy adjustments were in order for the half-mile radius around City Hall. The goal of these measures was to gradually attract shoppers, strollers, students, and services to the downtown. A unique mix of vastly different community groups came together, and united by the energy generated at the charrette quickly lent support to a variety of initiatives. Under the leadership of enlightened local developers like Buff Chace the rebirth of the downtown moved forward with agility. In 2004, DPZ was asked by the City, the downtown community and business partners to revisit the original master plan, with particular attention to the redevelopment of the Washington Street Corridor. A revitalized downtown Providence proudly hosted the Congress for the New Urbanism’s 14th annual conference in 2006.
- Upgrade downtown streets.
- Improve bus service.
- Facilitate the purchase of smaller lots to encourage more small-scale investments.
- Revise parking methods.
- Create affordable housing in warehouse lofts for artists and students.
- Relocate city services.
- Increase retail street frontage for stores, restaurants, and galleries.
Defining Design Details
- Human scale: Planting trees and creating pocket parks.
- Correcting the flow: redirected traffic patterns.
- Breaking barriers: reconnected west side neighborhoods to offset divisiveness of I-95.
Andres Duany: Downcity adios
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Downtown Providence now a place to work play and live / Video
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