Providence, the Renaissance City
Two decades ago, Providence, Rhode Island, was a gritty wasteland of neglected waterways, derelict railroad yards, and vast parking lots derided as a smudge on the road from New York to Cape Cod. Today, this historic New England city boasts a lively panorama of graceful river walks, revived commercial activity, and celebrated public arts—and has been named among the best places to live in America.
This breakthrough portrayal of urban rebirth reveals the ideas, opportunities, people, and projects behind the twenty-five-year Providence renaissance. Laying the historical, economic, and political groundwork, Francis J. Leazes Jr. and Mark T. Motte describe in detail the many disparate events that came together to transform Providence’s downtown into one of the nation’s most attractive urban environments at a time when other nearby former industrial centers continued to decay despite valiant renewal efforts. Through extensive interviews with elected officials, civil servants, entrepreneurs, and citizen activists, a complete picture takes shape for the first time of the myriad actors, complex goals, and intergovernmental cooperation involved in developing such lauded successes as the new Capital Center, the Providence Place mall, and the award-winning light sculpture, WaterFire.
Featuring dozens of illustrations, including many striking before-and-after images, the book reveals that the Providence renaissance is far more than mere smoke and mirrors perpetrated by flamboyant former mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci. Leazes and Motte employ the "garbage can" policymaking model to show how contingent coalitions, made up of public and private sector leadership, can adapt more effectively than a single grand redevelopment scheme or market-driven privatization alone. The evidence uncovers a true comeback of a city solidly remade, not merely a grimy urban skeleton with a postmodern veneer.
Meticulously documented and engagingly written, Providence, the Renaissance City is valuable reading for policymakers, administrators, political scientists, urban planners, and all concerned citizens of our nation’s cities.
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Aerial of railroads and Memorial Boulevard
Suicide Circle aerial and relocated rivers
Machines Elites and the Garbage Can
Capital Center aerial ca mid1960s and mid1990s
The Place and Its People
Providence waterfront development 17441940
Providence City Hall
Renaissance Planning Partnerships and People
Capital Center parcels 2003
Roads and Rivers
Highway interchange and Foundry Building
Coming on the Agenda
Providence Place the Rhode Island
A Renaissance Fumble?
Measuring Renaissance Policy
Other editions - View all
Almond Amtrak Arruda Bruce Sundlun building Capital Center Capital Center Commission Capital Center district Capital Center plan city council City of Providence city's College Hill construction Convention Center Convention Center Authority created decision dence destination city downcity downtown Providence economic development Ed Wood efforts elites federal FHWA financing fiscal funds garage Garrahy Governor highway historic idea improved interview by authors Island Convention Center John Castellucci land Lincoln Almond mall's Marsella Mayor Cianci Memorial Boulevard ment million Moshassuck Rivers moving neighborhoods October Orenstein Paolino parcel percent planners policy makers political property tax Providence Foundation Providence Journal Providence Place mall Providence renaissance Providence River Providence's rail railroad tracks renaissance activity renaissance policy residential retail revitalization Rhode Island Convention RIDOT Senator September 2002 stadium state's success Suicide Circle tax revenue tion transportation urban URI-CCE Warner WaterFire Waterplace Park Westin Hotel William Woonasquatucket