Providence, the Renaissance City

Front Cover
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.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Aerial of railroads and Memorial Boulevard
3
Suicide Circle aerial and relocated rivers
10
Machines Elites and the Garbage Can
17
Capital Center aerial ca mid1960s and mid1990s
26
The Place and Its People
28
Providence waterfront development 17441940
32
Providence City Hall
49
Renaissance Planning Partnerships and People
51
Capital Center parcels 2003
100
Roads and Rivers
104
Highway interchange and Foundry Building
114
Coming on the Agenda
144
Providence Place the Rhode Island
158
19941997
179
A Renaissance Fumble?
198
Measuring Renaissance Policy
210

University Heights and Cathedral Square
58
Providence Performing Arts Center
67
The Creation of Capital Center
77
Aerial photo of Providence 1976
78
Railroad bridge and Moshassuck River Walk
90
Opportunities People Policy
240
Providence Renaissance Chronology
263
Index
297
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information