ArtInRuins

A Compilation of Good Ideas

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Hi All. I happen by cool architecture/urban planning ideas now and then, and I think it would be a good idea to compile them into one forum and have people react to them. Cotuit, maybe this gets moved up into the permanent forums space?

Well, to get things started, here's a cool link to

Edited by ArtInRuins

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I happened to be standing infront of Staples at the University Plaza on North Main the other day thinking about how it could be fixed to fit into the neighbourhood and stop being a strip mall. This idea could apply well to that area. The way it sits on a platform on top of a hill lends it to being able to handle many different uses on a verticle plain. It would be challenging to transform the existing structure into something that would work like this, but it could be done. There's a lot more capital that could be gained out of that parcel by using the vertical space it contains.

In fact a lot of the vacant boxes along North Main sit on hills or in valleys, there is a lot of vertical use that could be explored.

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Carpionato just rebuilt that entire plaza only 2 yrs or so ago, and forwhatever reason it took them over 2yrs to do it. Did you see it before they re-did it? Quite an inprovement. The old McDonald's was torn down and a new one built just so they could have the drive-up window on the other side of the building. The Boston Market place & Soveign Bank are now in their own stand alone building instead of being connected to the main building as was the case before construction. Nobody seems to like strip malls, but this property is much more better than before.

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Carpionato just rebuilt that entire plaza only 2 yrs or so ago, and forwhatever reason it took them over 2yrs to do it. Did you see it before they re-did it? Quite an inprovement. The old McDonald's was torn down and a new one built just so they could have the drive-up window on the other side of the building. The Boston Market place & Soveign Bank are now in their own stand alone building instead of being connected to the main building as was the case before construction. Nobody seems to like strip malls, but this property is much more better than before.

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I didn't see it before, but it still sucks. The vehicular traffic flow in the plaza is terrible, especially around the McDonalds, Boston Market, and Soveriegn drive-thrus, there is no clear pedestrian connection to any of the surrounding streets, you have to walk in the vehicle traffic. The parking lot layout doesn't work... And from an urbanism standpoint it is an unmitigated disaster, not only is it set back from the street, but it is up on a bluff towering over the street. The bus stop is located away from the vehicle entrance, with no access up onto the bluff except to walk to the vehicle entrance. The bus actually drives past the entrance, drops you off, then you have to walk back the way you came to get into the plaza, then if you are going to PetCo or someplace on the northern end, you have to walk back that way again. The connection to North Main is a joke, they have that u-turn that says do not enter, which everyone enters to head south on North Main. I don't know who designs these things, and the East Side NIMBYs probably love the damn thing.

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I didn't see it before, but it still sucks. The vehicular traffic flow in the plaza is terrible, especially around the McDonalds, Boston Market, and Soveriegn drive-thrus, there is no clear pedestrian connection to any of the surrounding streets, you have to walk in the vehicle traffic. The parking lot layout doesn't work...

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That might be the most dangerous parking lot I've ever seen anywhere, for both pedestrians and cars. It is sooo tight, the flow is sooo bad, the angles are sooo odd, and people take it sooo fast.

I actually don't have a huge problem with that plaza. It's actually quite useful and, given the quasi-suburban nature of the rest of N. Main for better or worse, it fits.

- Garris

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Carpionato just rebuilt that entire plaza only 2 yrs or so ago, and forwhatever reason it took them over 2yrs to do it. Did you see it before they re-did it? Quite an inprovement. The old McDonald's was torn down and a new one built just so they could have the drive-up window on the other side of the building. The Boston Market place & Soveign Bank are now in their own stand alone building instead of being connected to the main building as was the case before construction. Nobody seems to like strip malls, but this property is much more better than before.

Oh yeah! I remember it before. It was fugly, that's for sure!

They basically totally tore down the old strip mall. They did it in sections, so that the existing stores didn't have to close completly (but the stores had to shift a couple of times during the construction). I think that's why it took so long. It wasn't refurbish, but completly domolished and replaced at the same time. While I generally hate strip malls, this one isn't TOO bad. Except of course....

... The vehicular traffic flow in the plaza is terrible, especially around the McDonalds, Boston Market, and Soveriegn drive-thrus

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Yeah.... that whole end needs to be reconfigured somehow. Makes you wonder what the hell they were thinking.

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I think millboy's idea for an aquarium on Elmwood across Route 95 from the zoo has merit, I'd classify it a "good idea."

I'd prefer an aquarium on the water, but having the zoo, an aquarium, and botanical gardens all on one campus could be a big draw. There would also have to be some sort of structure connecting the aquarium across Route 95 to the other attractions within RWP. It could be an opportunity to build a skybridge and make it into a dramatic Providence Gateway on Route 95.

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The historic photos in Whole Foods of the dense historic neighborhood that was on the site before demolition make me not want to shop there (and I dont, I go to Eastside Market which is actually further away for me).

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The historic photos in Whole Foods of the dense historic neighborhood that was on the site before demolition make me not want to shop there (and I dont, I go to Eastside Market which is actually further away for me).

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Actually, those photos aren't of the previous tenants on the same land, they are just historic photos from the RI Historical Society of old buildings nearby. One of them is of a building you can still recognize on Benefit Street.

Along the same lines, though, the new Stop and Shop which sits on the site of the former Gorham Silver Mill, has a mural sized photo of the former mill, but not the one that was on the site. It is a photo of the earlier Gorham works that existed on Steeple Street. No caption either. Either they wanted to pay tribute, but not directly reference the building they replaced, or they just didn't do their homework.

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Okay, a new idea:

In a recent issue of Southwest Airlines magazine that someone send me a pdf for, they ran a story on this place in San Diego called theOffice... part temple, part office space, part coffee bar. Basically, a place that is better than Starbucks to do some work in, rented by the hour, day, or month, with conference rooms, high speed broadband, and a quiet library-type no talking rule, or low talking. Result, micro enterprise professionals and semi-employeed retirees as well as travelling business people have a place to work, that is not their hotel room, apartment, or a noisy coffee bar.

Whaddaya think? Would the people of Providence benefit from something like this?

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Okay, a new idea:

In a recent issue of Southwest Airlines magazine that someone send me a pdf for, they ran a story on this place in San Diego called theOffice... part temple, part office space, part coffee bar. Basically, a place that is better than Starbucks to do some work in, rented by the hour, day, or month, with conference rooms, high speed broadband, and a quiet library-type no talking rule, or low talking. Result, micro enterprise professionals and semi-employeed retirees as well as travelling business people have a place to work, that is not their hotel room, apartment, or a noisy coffee bar.

Whaddaya think? Would the people of Providence benefit from something like this?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yeah, we can put it in a cemetary :rofl:

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Okay, a new idea:

In a recent issue of Southwest Airlines magazine that someone send me a pdf for, they ran a story on this place in San Diego called theOffice... part temple, part office space, part coffee bar. Basically, a place that is better than Starbucks to do some work in, rented by the hour, day, or month, with conference rooms, high speed broadband, and a quiet library-type no talking rule, or low talking. Result, micro enterprise professionals and semi-employeed retirees as well as travelling business people have a place to work, that is not their hotel room, apartment, or a noisy coffee bar.

Whaddaya think? Would the people of Providence benefit from something like this?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I like it! Call Paolino!

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...theOffice... part temple, part office space, part coffee bar. Basically, a place that is better than Starbucks to do some work in, rented by the hour, day, or month, with conference rooms, high speed broadband, and a quiet library-type no talking rule, or low talking...

Whaddaya think? Would the people of Providence benefit from something like this?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I was walking by the main library the other day and thinking about how it needs to improve itself, draw more people in the information age, find a profit center so it can support itself and not be so threatened by the city's economic woes.

They have a little patio area above the loading docks (which I believe is employees only), that could actually be a nice space. I was thinking of creating something like the Bryant Park Grill & Cafe behind the library in Manhattan. There are several loading dock areas that could have a structure built over them, a restaurant and this theOffice concept could go into that new space.

Library.jpg

The space at the corner of Fountain & Greene os where the stucture would be built. It would be up one level to continue to allow access to the loading dock. And screw David Brussat, I'm picturing a big glass box. :P

It would also benefit the future residents of the Public Safety Complex (if that is ever redeveloped and ends up with residents), as their view won't be of the library's loading docks.

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For some reason developers of strip malls find upper story housing anathema. The re-developer of the down town East Greenwhich strip mall had the oportunity to make it a mixed use village, but he wouldn't. The N Main strip would be gorgeous with residential up top. Imagine balconies w plants, bbq grills, parties watching the fire works. Coulda beena contenda.

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Check out this article in the Globe, about a planned community garden on top of a parking garage in Boston's South End. Would be a cool thing to see at the Municipal Parking Garage proposed for behind the Court House Downcity.

HarrisonUrbanGarden.jpg

In a first for Boston, a community garden will be placed on top of a planned parking garage, as developers work with city officials to maximize buildable land and cooperate with the community to preserve dwindling green space.

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Here's a cool idea for Providence's burgeoning waterfront:

CHICAGO (Reuters)

Friends of the Chicago River, an environmental group, cut the ribbon on Saturday on the city's first "fish hotel," off the Michigan Avenue bridge at the south end of the city's Magnificent Mile shopping district.

The hotel is actually a series of small gardens -- some floating and others submerged -- densely planted with wetland vegetation that should be more inviting to urban fish species than the river's bare, steel walls.

Some 18 species, including green sunfish and largemouth bass, which live in the Chicago River, could soon be snacking on clasping-leaf pondweed and bristly sedge planted in the new habitat. Even Coho salmon, better known in Lake Michigan or on Chicago menus, could swim by for a snack.

The habitat will be equipped with underwater cameras so Chicagoans can get a glimpse of the action. Costs for the project, which was done in partnership with the City of Chicago, were not disclosed but were funded partly by corporate donations.

Once tried out and tweaked, the concept could be extended to other urban rivers where fish struggle with a difficult habitat. "It is exciting to know that this project ... could guide other cities faced with similar challenges," said Margaret Frisbie, executive director of the Friends group.

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http://www.sueandpaul.com/gmapPedometer/

You can zoom out of Hoboken, then into Providence, click on "start recording"

and doucle click along your route to calculate the exact length of your walks

around town. For example, it's exactly .52 miles from my bus stop to my office.

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Cool. You can do this with Google Earth too.

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http://www.sueandpaul.com/gmapPedometer/

You can zoom out of Hoboken, then into Providence, click on "start recording"

and doucle click along your route to calculate the exact length of your walks

around town. For example, it's exactly .52 miles from my bus stop to my office.

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Very, very cool. This is a great tool for folks like myself who jog. Thanks!

- Garris

PS: Anyone else here running the downtown CVS 5K on Sept 11th?

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A request for anyone who has more time (or interest) than I do: tally up the number of parking spots in surface lots in the Downcity/Capital Center area (or just Downcity). I'd be curious to see how many parking spots (I'd presume it's a pathetically small number) are holding back all sorts of development. If we could see that on a map, that'd be great as well. Thanks!

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A request for anyone who has more time (or interest) than I do:  tally up the number of parking spots in surface lots in the Downcity/Capital Center area (or just Downcity).  I'd be curious to see how many parking spots (I'd presume it's a pathetically small number) are holding back all sorts of development.  If we could see that on a map, that'd be great as well.  Thanks!

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I seriously doubt it's a pathetically small number. From the mayor's office:

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