May 5, 2005

Providence Plan: More Green, But More Building Height

"A team of urban planners laid out a vision for Providence last night that is a little greener and a little taller," the Providence Journal reports.

After listening to the 90-minute presentation, members of the audience who spoke expressed a love of parks and open space, but a fear of heights. ... The urban planners said there are ways for the city to grow taller and more pedestrian-friendly at the same time.

Providence officials hired Sasaki Associates of Boston to develop plans for a portion of the city center. Part of the proposal would include first-floor shops and restaurants, as well as lining streets with treets and lights.

As I've written before, New Urbanist planners are absolutely correct that a "sense of enclosure" is critical for a streetscape that people will actual use, as opposed to putting in sidewalks that few people walk on unless they absolutely have to. If you want a thriving retail district, whether a town center or city downtown, you need to do more than just put in sidewalks -- even if those sidewalks "meet code." Trees can help offer pedestrians an appealing environment in a smaller commercial center that doesn't have the kind of critical mass of population density and public transportation that downtown Boston or midtown Manhattan do.

1 comment:

  1. Dr. Steven L. CastiglioniMay 12, 2005 at 1:15 PM

    Providence has a smaller commercial center but all of the critical mass that Boston has...What Providence needs to do is expand and increase the commercial center and then develop the of population supporting public transportation.