Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Garris

GC:PVD | Greater City: Providence

85 posts in this topic

Hi everyone,

Well, one of the things discussed at the last meeting was formally setting up an urban advocacy group for Providence. This would be an organization that would advance an optimistic, visionary nature of Providence first and foremost as a city in order to counter the often project-by-project reactionary nature of most Providence neighborhood groups.

Here are some preliminary details of the group that were discussed by the 5 of us at the meeting:

Mission: An urban advocacy group for the greater Providence area (including Pawtucket, EP, and immediate surrounding communities). This would be an organization that would advance an optimistic, visionary nature of Providence first and foremost as a city.

Goal: To apply the question, "What would make Providence an urban gem?" to all aspects of city living and turn the answers into action.

Name: To be determined. Suggestions for a name, acronym, or both are greatly desired. Brainstorm away!

Slogan: To be determined. Brainstorm away!

Meetings: Monthly at locations to be determined. Next meeting in August. The idea will be to try to meet before the string of planning and zoning meetings that happen in each given month. Possible venues thrown out for meetings include RISD, RIH, Peerless, Cafe at Rising Sun, and Wayland Sq Starbucks.

Organization: This group will be formally separate from UP for reasons of both mission and legalities. It will be incorporated and there will likely be a board and set of rules developed. There will be a maintained membership list and some dues for full membership will be maintained (with the Summit Neighborhood group as a successful example of this model). The purpose of dues will be to build a fund to be used to bankroll projects, studies, ads, etc.

In addition to the "parent" organization, there will likely be neighborhood specific offshoots maintained by interested members of the group. An overall philosophy of allowing members to "take ownership" and "run with" issues they care about (as long as they fit the organization's overall identity) and coordinate special interest branches of the group will be encouraged.

Web Identity: A home page with forum (separate from UP) and blog will be developed, again with the Summit group as a bit of a model.

Advocacy Priorities: A wonderful discussion was held about all of the topics we would like such a group to cover, and PVDJack correctly pointed out that a few of these, for purposes of clarity and marshalling of effort, would need to be prioritized. Thus, the four key issues we preliminarily decided to focus on (certainly open to ideas here) were the following:

1) Transit ("Getting Around"): The heart of soul of urbanity, we need to try to make ourselves the "Portland of the East Coast." Far more than the rail and bus of mass transit, this topic would also have ferries, traffic flow, and walkability as key aspects of the discussion.

2) Neighborhood Development: Providence's neighborhoods need to have better definition and then execution of those definitions. All Providence neighborhoods need to be much deeper than they currently are, offering more retail, better signage, more character, improved walkability, and more services to their residents.

3) Affordability: Providence neighborhoods need to maintain a mix of classes and socioeconomic groups. As Cotuit put it, this doesn't mean advocating for "Section 8 housing in 110 Westminster," but instead for solutions appropriate for each development and area of the city. Focus on increased density and zoning will be paramount here.

4) Taxes and Economic Development: Especially here, the two go hand in hand. A high and byzantine tax structure is holding back everything from retail growth to the schools to commercial development.

Additional Issues of Interest: Issues ranging from green space to environmentalism to density to education were brought up. I actually think this list is still on Cotuit's pad, as I didn't tear that page off :D.

Activities: It will be important to have at least one group member at key city and regional meetings in order to both report back and to establish a public presence for the group. We will come out with formal positions on individual projects and issues and will advocate those by interfacing through media outlets and through contacts in business, government, and the community.

And that's it! It was a long and wonderful discussion that produced the above, and I can't wait to continue development.

All of us there now invite a robust and hearty discussion of all of the above. Suggest away!

- Garris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Great rundown Garris. It indeed was a very good discussion touching a lot of points, from the grandiose and fantastical, to the sadly morbid, to Garris tearing down PVDJack's house. :lol:

We'll try to all touch base tomorrow and set a next meeting, or set the meeting within the next few days here on the forum.

Web Identity: A home page with forum (separate from UP) and blog will be developed, again with the Summit group as a bit of a model.

Just to clarify this a bit. All of us who decide to become part of this effort won't be leaving UrbanPlanet, far from it. But there are several reasons that the group needs to set a seperate identity, not the least of which is that UP is a privately owned, technically for-profit institution that is based in another state. Also, UP as an organization does not take specific sides on any issues, this group will.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd be interested mostly in the transit issues, since that is my background...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greater Providence P.O.S.I.T.I.V.E. (People Organizing for Sustainable and Inclusive Transformation through Investment in Vibrant Environments)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm gonna go with CUP (citizens for an Urban Providence), like I said a while back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As always, I opt for the play on words. My submission: Pro City, appropriate because the group would advocate Providence (Pro) becoming a stronger urban environment (City), and also because the group's stated purpose would be to promote (pro) the urban ideal (city) in general -- in the sense of "pro," meaning "in favor of."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Garris,

A fantastic idea! Perhaps, the group would be able voice a consolidated opinion that carries some weight on issues such as the lighting of structures at night, such as one Textron

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Garris,

A fantastic idea! Perhaps, the group would be able voice a consolidated opinion that carries some weight on issues such as the lighting of structures at night, such as one Textron

That would be exactly the idea.

For example, as a member of the group, if you were passionate about trying to get Textron lit, and if the idea was approved by and consistent with the larger goals of the group, you would be given the responsibility to head up a sub-group to get just that accomplished with the help of others who felt similarly. That way, you could try to meet with Textron reps or city officials and write a letter about it to the ProJo, etc with the full weight and legitimacy of the group behind you and not just as one lone voice... You'd report back to the group each month on progress being made and be able to take advantage of the ideas and connections of others to make it happen.

- Garris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

what are the next steps towards getting this advocacy group off the ground?

i'd be interested in this, if nothing more than to get some of the neighborhood parks cleaned up and regularly maintained.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

what are the next steps towards getting this advocacy group off the ground?

i'd be interested in this, if nothing more than to get some of the neighborhood parks cleaned up and regularly maintained.

In a ham handed way this is exactly what I was talking about in my thread on route 95 being a mess. Even if all we did was have coordinated email/phone call/letter campaign's directed at the right people we could be a positive force for change :thumbsup: .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Name: To be determined. Suggestions for a name, acronym, or both are greatly desired. Brainstorm away!

I like "Sources Close to an Unnamed Greater Providence Urban Advocacy Group." :ph34r:

Urb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're setting to meet next Tuesday the 8th as our second meeting and organization strategizing session, location to be determined at this point, but it will be somewhere Downcity (suggestions welcome).

Going forward we'll tentatively be meeting on the First Tuesday of each month, next time being Sept. 5th.

And as a side note, for people that aren't so eager on getting formally organized, fear not, more social UP meetings will be being scheduled in the near future, including my desire to try to schedule something in Pawtucket.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm gonna try hard to make this one, though I'll probly be stuck in the Rive Tuesday afternoon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


We haven't settled on a location yet, but the time will be our regular 5-5:30ish (I'll be there at or just after 5:00pm assuming no one is going to show up, as I usually do). It should be someplace Downcity, AS220, City Cafe, and Tazza (and Trinity) have been put forth as options.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Prior to Tuesday, I just want to remind everyone to keep thinking of a name. Here are some suggestions thus far:

- Greater Providence P.O.S.I.T.I.V.E. (People Organizing for Sustainable and Inclusive Transformation through Investment in Vibrant Environments)

- CUP: Citizens for an Urban Providence

- PUP: People for an Urban Providence

- Pro City: Providence

This is a kind of thing I've never been good at (I'm not good at Scrabble or crossword puzzles). Most names should ideally be short, descriptive, and easy to remember. I've tried picking out urban oriented words like CITY, GRID, URBAN, BUILD, etc and tried to make them into acronyms, but it hasn't worked for me. The "u" in the word "urban" also doesn't lend itself well to acronyms (especially with a "p" from Providence).

Also, I'm lukewarm on using the word urban at all, which means different things to different people. I think outside enthusiast circles like our own, the word "urban" conjures a dystopian mental picture looking something like scenes from the movie "Escape New York." I've always thought this has been a problem with the "New Urbanist" moniker.

Thus, I'm of two minds. The first is just swallowing the above reservation and suggesting:

"Urban Providence!"

Simple, straightforward, descriptive, easy to remember. While the UP abbrevation might create reference problems on these boards (thus the exclaimation point), it's accurate for us wanting more height and allows for neighborhood branches to be easily named ("UP!: Federal Hill," "UP!: Wayland Square," "UP!: Downtown" etc...).

The other direction I've been going is towards a more aspirational phrase, inspired by something like "People for the American Way." Perhaps:

"Providence Citizens for a Greater City" (The PCGC) or, alternatively, just "Providence Citizens for City" (The PCC)

It drops the murky and scary "urban" word, and both phrases really reflect that we want a city that's more city, less anything else. The PCGC especially sounds optimistic and positive, not threatening or too narrow, and the abbreviation is nicely balanced.

If I had to choose one to throw into the ring as my suggestion, it would be:

Title: Providence Citizens for a Greater City (PCGC)

Subtitle: Helping Plan and Build an Urban Gem

Discuss...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Location for Tuesday...

Are people good with Tazza?

I have nothing against Trinity, just trying to mix it up a bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Prior to Tuesday, I just want to remind everyone to keep thinking of a name. Here are some suggestions thus far:

- Greater Providence P.O.S.I.T.I.V.E. (People Organizing for Sustainable and Inclusive Transformation through Investment in Vibrant Environments)

- CUP: Citizens for an Urban Providence

- PUP: People for an Urban Providence

- Pro City: Providence

This is a kind of thing I've never been good at (I'm not good at Scrabble or crossword puzzles). Most names should ideally be short, descriptive, and easy to remember. I've tried picking out urban oriented words like CITY, GRID, URBAN, BUILD, etc and tried to make them into acronyms, but it hasn't worked for me. The "u" in the word "urban" also doesn't lend itself well to acronyms (especially with a "p" from Providence).

Also, I'm lukewarm on using the word urban at all, which means different things to different people. I think outside enthusiast circles like our own, the word "urban" conjures a dystopian mental picture looking something like scenes from the movie "Escape New York." I've always thought this has been a problem with the "New Urbanist" moniker.

Thus, I'm of two minds. The first is just swallowing the above reservation and suggesting:

"Urban Providence!"

Simple, straightforward, descriptive, easy to remember. While the UP abbrevation might create reference problems on these boards (thus the exclaimation point), it's accurate for us wanting more height and allows for neighborhood branches to be easily named ("UP!: Federal Hill," "UP!: Wayland Square," "UP!: Downtown" etc...).

The other direction I've been going is towards a more aspirational phrase, inspired by something like "People for the American Way." Perhaps:

"Providence Citizens for a Greater City" (The PCGC) or, alternatively, just "Providence Citizens for City" (The PCC)

It drops the murky and scary "urban" word, and both phrases really reflect that we want a city that's more city, less anything else. The PCGC especially sounds optimistic and positive, not threatening or too narrow, and the abbreviation is nicely balanced.

If I had to choose one to throw into the ring as my suggestion, it would be:

Title: Providence Citizens for a Greater City (PCGC)

Subtitle: Helping Plan and Build an Urban Gem

Discuss...

I actually like "Pro-City," for reasons I can't really quantify. It doesn't make for an acronym, but so what?

Words like "Sustainable," "Inclusive," and "Urban" generally have political connotations that would discourage people of a certain persuas-... well, I'll just come out and say it: conservatives wouldn't touch it. Those adjectives are not "inclusive."

Keep it simple. Acronyms like P.O.S.I.T.I.V.E. always end up sounding too contrived... and no one can remember exactly what they stand for, anyway!

Urb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i like PCGC. and i totally understand what you mean about the term "urban". to some people, it's the same thing as "ghetto". it's funny how some don't think of places like new york as urban because it's nice...

I actually like "Pro-City," for reasons I can't really quantify. It doesn't make for an acronym, but so what?

Words like "Sustainable," "Inclusive," and "Urban" generally have political connotations that would discourage people of a certain persuas-... well, I'll just come out and say it: conservatives wouldn't touch it. Those adjectives are not "inclusive."

Keep it simple. Acronyms like P.O.S.I.T.I.V.E. always end up sounding too contrived... and no one can remember exactly what they stand for, anyway!

Urb

i agree... while i like what the acronym for P.O.S.I.T.I.V.E. stands for, it's a really long name...

Location for Tuesday...

Are people good with Tazza?

I have nothing against Trinity, just trying to mix it up a bit.

i've never been there... sure.

is the food good? i'll probably be eating dinner during the meeting if that's ok.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pro City: Providence gets my vote. and some sort of subheading should include 'sustainable urban environment' kind of language. We're not building a city, we're trying to sustain and maintain, and grow and tart up the one we have.

and yes Tazza although i'm now double booked but i think i might be able to get out of the second thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thinking behind Greater Providence POSITIVE is to connote two things. First, the scope of good development extends beyond Providence to the other cities and towns of the state. Second, we are "positive" about the direction that the state can be led if smart development is realized.

It actually need not be revealed that POSITIVE is an acronym. It can be one of those "clever" stories we pull out when someone asks us how we got our name.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thinking behind Greater Providence POSITIVE is to connote two things. First, the scope of good development extends beyond Providence to the other cities and towns of the state. Second, we are "positive" about the direction that the state can be led if smart development is realized.

It actually need not be revealed that POSITIVE is an acronym. It can be one of those "clever" stories we pull out when someone asks us how we got our name.

i like the idea... i more like having it include greater providence, but having POSITIVE in there is kind of tough because there's no way i'll remember what it stands for if someone were to ask me. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i think we have to be careful about being "positive" and then turning our nose up at stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

with the meeting about a day away... are we set for tazza around 5-5:30?

if so... where is tazza? i've never been there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.