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but the sad fact is that most of America prioritizes a big yard and a decent school system well ahead of anything that modern cities offer.

Why is that a _sad_ fact? If you have the choice between a safer community, more privacy, better education, and lower taxes, etc. why wouldn't you take it? All of us on here love city life, but it's not for everyone and certainly not geared towards raising a family like many suburban and rural towns are. Seems like a no brainer to me. The issue isn't people moving to suburbs, it's _why_ they're moving.

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and certainly not geared towards raising a family

See now why would you say that? Literally billions of kids are raised in urban areas. It's mid-century American propaganda that leads us to believe that a city is no place to raise a kid.

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Why is that a _sad_ fact? If you have the choice between a safer community, more privacy, better education, and lower taxes, etc. why wouldn't you take it? All of us on here love city life, but it's not for everyone and certainly not geared towards raising a family like many suburban and rural towns are. Seems like a no brainer to me. The issue isn't people moving to suburbs, it's _why_ they're moving.

It's a sad fact if you believe that suburbanization has expedited greenhouse gasses and reliance on oil as well as taking away large tracts of public greenspace. It's a sad fact if you believe that society is becoming more solitary in nature where people isolate themselves from everyone. It's my opinion that those things are sad (although I'm no tree-hugger on the greenhouse gas issue).

Also, er, this is an Urban website, so the intimation of me saying that it is sad would mean that it runs counter to the ideals of most people on the website.

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It's a sad fact if you believe that suburbanization has expedited greenhouse gasses and reliance on oil as well as taking away large tracts of public greenspace. It's a sad fact if you believe that society is becoming more solitary in nature where people isolate themselves from everyone. It's my opinion that those things are sad (although I'm no tree-hugger on the greenhouse gas issue).

Also, er, this is an Urban website, so the intimation of me saying that it is sad would mean that it runs counter to the ideals of most people on the website.

I agree 100%... Now and then I'll notice an SUV with some sort of environmentalist bumper sticker, it's infuriating.

As for the "safer" argument, aren't we overprotecting our kids? Kids are sooooo cushioned today it's crazy. My generation was spoiled and cushioned, but not nearly the way these kids are. When I was growing up (and I'm only 22) kids didn't wear bicycle helmets and were allowed to walk more than 15 feet to and from their bus stop (I walked probably 1,000 feet and some people walked over a half mile to my bus stop), and many kids walked to school (even the young ones). We survived.

In terms of cleanliness, we overprotect, too. I've read that the "cleaner" kids' immune systems are weaker than kids who played in dirt or picked their nose and ate it, and that the stronger immune systems carried onto adulthood.

City life is only as dangerous as society allows. In the 1930s people got fed up with the violence over turf during prohibition (just like today!), and got rid of the root of the problem: prohibition. The easy thing, which most people do nowadays, is to just isolate themselves from the problems and act like they don't exist.

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See now why would you say that? Literally billions of kids are raised in urban areas. It's mid-century American propaganda that leads us to believe that a city is no place to raise a kid.

I was referring to Providence in my posts. While the Prov. school system has over 25K public schoolchildren, the overwhelming majority come from very poor families. It wasn't like that as much when I was in school. There were pockets of poverty all around the city but there was a broader range of social classes. Sorry to sound cliche..but there is a class war going on around this city. I don't have kids and don't ever plan to, but I can't imagine middle-class people with children investing in the long term future of the public school system. It has nothing to do with city-living per se...There are still cities that can have good schools within their municipal borders. Worcester is one that comes to mind. Granted, their municipal borders are more than double the city of Providence...but maybe that's the problem. Or maybe it's the fact that there are literally thousands of illegal immigrants in the city overburdening the school sytem with funding for ESL programs etc...or maybe there's no accountability factor for new teachers...no standards..no performance testing...Yet the school dept. will hire somebody just because they have a racial quota to meet. Whatever the answer is ..the Prov. school system sucks and it wasn't that way only a few years back.There is no way in hell that I would ever give my child lless than what he deserves.

A good school system is the foundation for a good city. It attracts families, encourages social diversity, encourages LONG-TERM investment, and makes a city healthy. How can one expect middle-class families to re-populate cities and bring balance if this does not exist?How can you expect people like me( not poor or rich) to stay or move here when our own state legislators encourage illegal alien and welfare entitlements? Doesn't that make anyone enraged? Perhaps if I could afford to live in Wayland Sq. in my esoteric bubble, I would remain here...but for mr and countless others....it's becoming a real drag.

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Jerry obviously has some very strong feelings on what has caused the decline of Providence's middle class neighborhoods. If I read him correctly its RI's overly generous welfare benefits attracting the poor to our City and the crushing burden of dealing with so many illegal immigrants that is the problem. I haven't seen Jerry offer any evidence to support those contentions, but since I agree that for a city its size there are very few middle class neighborhoods in Providence, let me throw out another explanation. The City used to have a residency requirement for City workers. Residency ordinances automatically create a middle class tax base for a city. The end of residency requirements first from 1990-1992 and again in 2004 had a tremendous impact on some neighborhoods. Provplan.org has some discussion about that effect in its profiles pages.

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I can't imagine middle-class people with children investing in the long term future of the public school system

I can because I plan to. My wife and I own a house in Elmhurst, no kids yet but we will soon. Barring some catastrophic turn of events they will go to public schools. I went to Newport's public schools, which have some real issues. I and my friends all still managed to get in to good colleges and beyond. My nieghborhood elementary school in Providence (Kennedy) scores as well on those standardized performance tests as the schools I went to. I am sure it can be better, and I'll do what I can to make it so. I acknowledge that right now middle school would be tough (but since thats over 13 years away I won't lose too much sleep) but Classical is great, as good as any school in the state.

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if i were to stay in the city after i have kids (which won't happen because of the fiancee who wants a decent yard and is tired of living in the city, although i will require that wherever we move have city-like features), i would send them to private school. that would be the case almost anywhere i end up. aside from barrington public schools, almost all the public schools systems are not as good as private schools. the reason being that class sizes are much smaller in private schools and generally teachers just care more (you have to in order to accept the much lower salary).

that being said... my neighborhood is a mix of elderly who do their part (you should see the yards in my neighborhood, these people put a lot of time into them and are proud of them) and younger families (most with children who are no older than 10). there are a few families with high school aged kids (the one across the street from me for example, i think their kids go to la salle, although they never walk to school and it's right down the street, so it might be elsewhere). i'd say no more than 40% of the homes in my neighborhood are owned by elderly people. and my neighborhood is very clean, very quiet, and looks really nice. it's almost suburban living in the city aside from the fact that it's still fairly walkable with decent amenities within half a mile.

I'm shoveling against the tide on this, but I think schools are the most overrated concept in American life.

I went to one of the "best" public school systems in Mass., that being Wayland -- out of my high school class, 98% went to college, and we had more top scores on AP exams than any other school in the state, public or private, or some such thing, yada-yada-yada -- but did I get a good education? No. The English curriculum stunk -- they didn't have us read a single classic work of literature, in 12 years. The math department was reasonably OK, but they graduated football players who could not keep a bowling scoresheet. They did have a good foreign language department -- but they didn't require you to take anything there. Basically, there were a lot of good academic offerings, IF you wanted to take them. But if you just wanted to skate through school and get the h3ll out of there, you could do it easily and take cake electives your last two years.

By contrast, I used to work for a guy who'd grown up in Gardner -- one of the poorest towns in the state, in terms of education spending. As a result, they had very little money to spend on new books -- so the kids read old ones, like Shakespeare, Dickens, and Hemingway. Required.

I do not understand why parents obsess about their kids' schools and happily pay ridiculous property taxes in manicured-lawn suburbs (like the one I grew up in), etc. What you learn at home is MUCH more important than what you learn in school -- schools are basically a place to grow up and get socialized. And the suburbs are a lousy place to do that -- all you get is a bunch of identical white kids just like you.

And you don't even develop a decent regional accent -- most people think I'm from the Midwest, because my accent is so bland/vanilla, unlike my dad, who sounds like a working-class guy from Newburyport.

Why the obsession with schools? That ain't what it's all about.

Urb

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I'm shoveling against the tide on this, but I think schools are the most overrated concept in American life.

I went to one of the "best" public school systems in Mass., that being Wayland -- out of my high school class, 98% went to college, and we had more top scores on AP exams than any other school in the state, public or private, or some such thing, yada-yada-yada -- but did I get a good education? No. The English curriculum stunk -- they didn't have us read a single classic work of literature, in 12 years. The math department was reasonably OK, but they graduated football players who could not keep a bowling scoresheet. They did have a good foreign language department -- but they didn't require you to take anything there. Basically, there were a lot of good academic offerings, IF you wanted to take them. But if you just wanted to skate through school and get the h3ll out of there, you could do it easily and take cake electives your last two years.

Sounds just like the schools in Barnstable, among the top ranked in the state, but I've really learned more by watching PBS than I did in school.

Goes back to the accountablility issue as well. If you push your kids to succeed, and do your best to create an environment where they can, they will.

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I'm shoveling against the tide on this, but I think schools are the most overrated concept in American life.

I went to one of the "best" public school systems in Mass., that being Wayland -- out of my high school class, 98% went to college, and we had more top scores on AP exams than any other school in the state, public or private, or some such thing, yada-yada-yada -- but did I get a good education? No. The English curriculum stunk -- they didn't have us read a single classic work of literature, in 12 years. The math department was reasonably OK, but they graduated football players who could not keep a bowling scoresheet. They did have a good foreign language department -- but they didn't require you to take anything there. Basically, there were a lot of good academic offerings, IF you wanted to take them. But if you just wanted to skate through school and get the h3ll out of there, you could do it easily and take cake electives your last two years.

By contrast, I used to work for a guy who'd grown up in Gardner -- one of the poorest towns in the state, in terms of education spending. As a result, they had very little money to spend on new books -- so the kids read old ones, like Shakespeare, Dickens, and Hemingway. Required.

I do not understand why parents obsess about their kids' schools and happily pay ridiculous property taxes in manicured-lawn suburbs (like the one I grew up in), etc. What you learn at home is MUCH more important than what you learn in school -- schools are basically a place to grow up and get socialized. And the suburbs are a lousy place to do that -- all you get is a bunch of identical white kids just like you.

And you don't even develop a decent regional accent -- most people think I'm from the Midwest, because my accent is so bland/vanilla, unlike my dad, who sounds like a working-class guy from Newburyport.

Why the obsession with schools? That ain't what it's all about.

Urb

no matter how good or bad the school is, if the student wants to learn, they will learn. some of the best students come out of the worst schools and some of the worst students come out of the best schools. it's all in the student's hands (and the parent's hands to make sure their kids go to school and do their work).

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no matter how good or bad the school is, if the student wants to learn, they will learn. some of the best students come out of the worst schools and some of the worst students come out of the best schools. it's all in the student's hands (and the parent's hands to make sure their kids go to school and do their work).

I agree, but most parents want to give their kid every advantage possible. I don't blame parents who move out of the city to live where their kid can have a better chance at a good education. I'm not saying you couldn't get one in the city, but a parent isn't going to make it harder than it has to be. Some schools are just better than others. I grew up in New Hampshire. My high school wasn't the best but it was where i went because when I was young my parents could only afford to live in that town. The next town over is home to an Ivy league school (Dartmouth). Their high school was very well funded, and it showed. Come graduation time, our school sent one student to Ivy Leagues out of the many that applied. The school in the town nextdoor sent almost 20. It's a fact that colleges look at the quality of the high school and not just your grades. If putting your child in the best school possible increases his chances of going to a better college, I don't think it's wrong for parents to take that opportunity.

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I agree, but most parents want to give their kid every advantage possible. I don't blame parents who move out of the city to live where their kid can have a better chance at a good education. I'm not saying you couldn't get one in the city, but a parent isn't going to make it harder than it has to be. Some schools are just better than others. I grew up in New Hampshire. My high school wasn't the best but it was where i went because when I was young my parents could only afford to live in that town. The next town over is home to an Ivy league school (Dartmouth). Their high school was very well funded, and it showed. Come graduation time, our school sent one student to Ivy Leagues out of the many that applied. The school in the town nextdoor sent almost 20. It's a fact that colleges look at the quality of the high school and not just your grades. If putting your child in the best school possible increases his chances of going to a better college, I don't think it's wrong for parents to take that opportunity.

only one person from my private high school attended an ivy league school out of probably 10 that applied (he was also the only one accepted). we had 2 valedictorians because both students were tied perfectly for grades. i grew up in a fairly affluent suburb of new haven, CT. the high school in my town was removing all competition in the classes. those who wanted to do well could do well. i don't believe the school should be the factor in where you child goes to college, their grades should be. i also disagree that ivy league schools are the best colleges, especially when it comes to undergrad. in fact, i believe that are a complete rip off.

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only one person from my private high school attended an ivy league school out of probably 10 that applied (he was also the only one accepted). we had 2 valedictorians because both students were tied perfectly for grades. i grew up in a fairly affluent suburb of new haven, CT. the high school in my town was removing all competition in the classes. those who wanted to do well could do well. i don't believe the school should be the factor in where you child goes to college, their grades should be. i also disagree that ivy league schools are the best colleges, especially when it comes to undergrad. in fact, i believe that are a complete rip off.

Again, I agree with everything you're saying. But it's a fact that the perceived quality of the high school is a factor. I know city schools and cities as a whole would be much better off if the middle class stuck around, but that's a difficult choice for a parent to make when they're in a situation where they can choose city or suburb. The schools have to get better, then the people will come. It just won't happen the other way around.

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I'm shoveling against the tide on this, but I think schools are the most overrated concept in American life.

I went to one of the "best" public school systems in Mass., that being Wayland -- out of my high school class, 98% went to college, and we had more top scores on AP exams than any other school in the state, public or private, or some such thing, yada-yada-yada -- but did I get a good education? No. The English curriculum stunk -- they didn't have us read a single classic work of literature, in 12 years. The math department was reasonably OK, but they graduated football players who could not keep a bowling scoresheet. They did have a good foreign language department -- but they didn't require you to take anything there. Basically, there were a lot of good academic offerings, IF you wanted to take them. But if you just wanted to skate through school and get the h3ll out of there, you could do it easily and take cake electives your last two years.

By contrast, I used to work for a guy who'd grown up in Gardner -- one of the poorest towns in the state, in terms of education spending. As a result, they had very little money to spend on new books -- so the kids read old ones, like Shakespeare, Dickens, and Hemingway. Required.

I do not understand why parents obsess about their kids' schools and happily pay ridiculous property taxes in manicured-lawn suburbs (like the one I grew up in), etc. What you learn at home is MUCH more important than what you learn in school -- schools are basically a place to grow up and get socialized. And the suburbs are a lousy place to do that -- all you get is a bunch of identical white kids just like you.

This is a great point, and I agree completely. I also went to one of the best perfoming public schools in Massachusetts (Duxbury) and got a pretty shoddy education. The very top academic levels, AP classes, were good, but anything beyond that was lacking - the entire math department was deplorable, and yet the town consistently ranked in the upper tier of math test scores. It was just a factory for getting kids into upper tier colleges, and it just happened that living in an entirely white, upper-middle class town made that alot easier than an growing up in an urban neighborhood. But the school itself didn't have a whole lot to do with it.

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[Warning, typically long Garris explosion of ideas post]

Ok, finally grabbed some time to post here on some of the (excellent) ongoing topics... Regarding:

Jerry's issues regarding frustrations of living in Providence...

Well, granted, I'm chiming in from the, how did you phrase ?, "Esoteric bubble" of Wayland Sq here :blink: , but trust me, I feel your frustration. I've been considering the issues of living in Providence a lot lately as I've been on the job hunt and, with rare exceptions, where a physician chooses to put down roots and build a patient panel is where they stay for most of their career. So, I've been thinking a lot about many of the things you bring up.

First, Brick is absolutely correct that there's nothing going on in Providence that isn't happening in almost every other city (and many major metro area suburbs as well):

- Middle class getting squeezed out by rising housing prices: check

- School systems underperforming public expectations: check

- Downtowns becoming the province of the younger single or older professional affluent classes or students: check

- Immigrants driving urban population growth:check

(BTW: you stated Providence's population is dropping, which isn't true...)

- The affluent and the "lower classes" not "mixing" well together: check

- Universities, healthcare, social services, and small businesses increasingly being the economic engine or urban areas: check

Many of these trends go way beyond policy of what's happening locally.

I've considered many of the above issues, and many of the other more specific concerns you bring up, and after all of it, I'm still going to try to stay right here. Why? Here are my thoughts about some of the concerns you bring up.

- Concern: Very close proximity between "good" and "bad" neighborhoods...

Absolutely true, and while arguably a weakness here, it's also a strength. For example, I can drive from Wayland Square to the Valley area/West End/Federal Hill and in 10 minutes or less pass through Thayer St, Fox Point, Wickenden, Jewelry District, Downcity, and even upper South Providence if I want. That's about 7-8 completely distinct neighborhoods, all with their own unique flavor, architecture, character, demographics, strengths and weaknesses, in 10 minutes or less. That's pretty darn remarkable! How many cities can you do that in? Would I want to live in all of those neighborhoods? No, definitely not, but I'm glad they're there and glad other people want to live in them.

In the NY suburb where I grew up, where I lived in Minnesota, and where I lived in Scottsdale, for example, if I went 10 minutes in any direction (even 30 minutes or 60 minutes in any direction) I passed... A lot of the same cookie cutter, anywhere in America houses, retail, and commercial development. And many of the same white, middle class demographic.

I'll take our situation, thank you... I think the city can help better "demarcate" areas by bolstering the retail cores of neighborhoods (more on this in a different post later perhaps)...

- Concern: Pockets of gentrification (including a more exclusive downtown) in a city of poverty...

True to an extent, yes. One person I know calls the East Side an "affluent ghetto." But this is not unusual, or undesirable. Absolutely every thriving city in America I've visited usually has its most expensive and desirable real estate downtown, and all of those cities have affluent neighborhoods where most people can't afford to live.

I'm continually baffled on how some people think this is a bad thing for Providence. It's absolutely a healthy sign that people who can afford to live everywhere in the region or even nation are staking nearly their entire net wealth on buying a condo/home/loft/apartment here in Providence, especially downtown. We're that desirable in people's eyes.

Similarly, I still count Providence (looking at the entire area of the city within its boundries, and not just Downcity or College Hill as some will do) as a pretty affordable place. How many people in Providence, who live here easily and successfully, could afford to live similarly in Manhattan, Boston, Seattle, or Portland OR? Or in some smaller cities like White Plains or Stamford? No many, I would bet. At least we can have this discussion here, while in other cities like Boston or Seattle that are so expensive that even the middle-class is priced out, that discussion is already over.

What about our Poverty? Bad to be sure, but our areas of poverty, in my own personal opinion, are not a fraction as bad or hopeless as similar areas in New Haven (which as some of the scariest neighborhoods I've ever seen), Hartford (please, no flame war Hartford folks, it's just my personal opinion), Philly (whose areas of scary poverty are the size of like 20 Providences), or Chicago. I feel safe almost everywhere in Providence and, as others have pointed out, some of our more "disadvantaged" areas are actually, by other measures, quite vibrant and thriving communities.

In my opinion, if any city has the opportunity to make headway on such issues and improve its citizen's quality of life, it's Providence.

- Concern: The school system sucks...

Absolutely. If I have children some day (I'm still working on the marriage thing!) I wouldn't want them in the Providence public schools either. But guess what? Most of the people I know who are that school focused aren't flocking to move to Worchester, Boston, Hartford, or NYC for their public schools either.

Providence has excellent parochial schools (Christian and Jewish) and private school options, and it has very good nearby suburban options in the metro as well. This is no different from any other metro I've seen.

I personally think Providence's public school system probably needs to be blown up and rebuilt from the ground up. But as Urbie started saying above, even the best school systems can't overcome what happens in kids homes and what's going on in kids heads, and that's not going to change quickly in Providence (or anywhere else) anytime soon...

- Concern: My neighbors suck, there's petty crime everywhere...

... and not just in cities. There's less of a chance of it in the suburbs, but all of the above can happen everywhere. In the guilded NY suburbs, my mother's car got keyed in her workplace parking lot and one of her former students just killed his girlfriend in a drug induced range. In a guilded South Jersey shore community, a family I know is "at war" with a nasty neighbor in their respective million dollar homes. It culminated recently with one neighbor situating their sprinklers in such a location that "happened" to be within range of multiple open windows in the home of the family I know while they were out of town for a week. It can happen anywhere...

- Concern: Providence isn't yet an urban jem...

I actually agree with this to a degree. We're not there yet. Many of the city's neighborhoods' retail cores are too small and underdeveloped, RIPTA is a work that isn't as in-progress as it should be, and downtown is still in evolution. I still believe that with everything going on in the city, that's we're at 2009 at earliest and more likely 2012-ish to 2015ish, if not longer, until the city starts to hit its stride.

The Upside...

But, that's why I think Providence is worth it is because of its potential. We already have things that other urban areas dream of:

- Amazing neighborhoods and unique character...

- Incredible architecture...

- Dramatic geography (hills, valleys, rivers, etc right in the center of town)...

- Successful and rapidly growing world class institutions of higher learning...

- Waterfront access...

- An amazingly walkable, charming downtown...

- Successful and stable local sports teams (PC basketball, the Paw Socks, the P Bruins)...

- A vibrant arts scene...

- Beaches, Boston, mountains in under an hours from the city center...

- One of the nation's easiest to use airports in 10-15 minutes from city center...

- Right on the Amtrak line...

- A successful downtown mall...

- Great healthcare options (like 8 hospitals in the metro!!)...

etc, etc...

And look at the likely certainties in the next 5-10 years...

- More hotels for conventions being built and coming online

- 4-6 condo/apartment towers downtown

- 195 gets moved and opens up 22 or so acres of land connecting the JD and downtown and we get a major new urban park

- Powerlines across the bay get buried

- Hospitals continue to expand (W&I building a huge new building, for ex, and Miriam continues to build)

- Dunk gets redone and the VMA renovations get completed

- Airport gets connected to the rail system

- Some type of commuter rail gets established

- Surrounding communities like Pawtucket and East Providence continue to gain traction

What other similar sized, similarly affordable city anywhere in the Northeast offers even a fraction of such things at this level?

What are the potential pitfalls down the road? My biggest concern is that people don't realize these things, and that we are dramatically underexploiting our potentially, actually. Clouds on the horizon that worry me and should worry everyone are:

- Leadership, leadership, leadership: A bad mayor here or an ineffective state administration there could really undermine and derail things...

- Neighborhood groups: The nearly fanatical, reactionary forces in the neighborhood associations are plowing all of their capital into the master neighborhood planning process, and I fear paralysis could result. Folks, I don't think we have years and years to sort these things out. The city and the neighborhoods need to rapidly plan and rapidly execute. We have a good development window here, and I fear things are moving too slowly and it'll pass us right on by...

- Boston: I personally think Boston has bigger problems than we do. They have all the usual NE regional issues as we do, but in more extreme fashion and at double the cost. If they start to falter (which some are arguing is already happening), then we could catch cold too. When I start hearing people I know in Boston answering such concerns with lines like, "Things can't get that bad. You, know, we're Boston!!" I start to really worry. We could actually exploit this sitution to Providence's benefit, but that would be politically catty and undermine the whole regional cooperation that needs to take place...

- Business Climate: This city really, really needs to create a better retail/business climate. When I talk to business owners who are doing really well in their locations in the best areas of the city but say that they're still on the bubble because of taxes or high rents (which themselves are often driven by property taxes), I get really concerned. Retail environments in places like Federal Hill and the East Side need better chances for stability and places like downtown and the West End need to be kickstarted, and I don't know of formal policy in place to do this. If it's there, someone tell me... This should be #2 priority after schools...

- Lack of Pride: Why does Providence (like Philly) always look so shabby, even in its best, most visible areas? Why does it tolerate graffiti everywhere? Why do homeowners of million dollar homes on the East Side not mow their sidewalk grass (or weed) patches and renters in Smith Hill not pick up garbage? Why have some high profile buildings on Washington St not received a coat of paint since WWI? Why do our retail establishments seem to have zero imagination when it comes to facades or marketing? Why doesn't Brown care about Thayer St? Why don't the very profitable businesses and practices around the RI Hospital medical area have a shred of landscaping, trees, or grass to break up their acres of surface parking? For our "Renaissance" to be complete, such things need to change...

Whew! So there you go. In the aggregate, I still think this is a unique, affordable, exciting city of enormous potential that's rare to find anywhere. It's a great joy living here already and the future (if we manage it correctly and take advantage of our strengths) is only brighter.

Hopefully, I'll be here for the long run...

- Garris

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Wow Garris...That was an incredible short story? I always appreciate your sensible input on matters of UP. However, my post was more of a rant than anything else. Sometimes people let their emotions get ahold of them when they've had issues with car vandalism, rodents, loud music at all hours, and blatant drug activity right outside their homes. I didnt dispute the fact that most cities in America suffer from the same issues that we do. Nor did I mention or imply that gentrification was bad for the city. I did say that the result was a formation of two distinct social classes. In any case, I haven't been "priced out" of the city or anything like that, but I couldn't afford to live in an area that I deemed a true neighborhood in this city like Wayland Square or "Hope Village."( I really HATE that coined term)So, I live in one of the "other" , sometimes edgy, sometimes sketchy areas that have one or more of the issues like you described.... Areas that many people here on UP live in: Smith Hill, Federal Hill, Olneyville, Armory, Mt. Pleasant, North End. BTW, I live in what's considered the good end of Smith Hill. ( near the Foundry and next to St. Patrick's)

My almost everyday struggle with living here is sort of like an old man deciding on whether to retire or an old mom & pop store deciding to close. It's not that we absolutely want to, but we feel almost compelled to do so to eliminate the stress in our lives. There are very urban walkable cities, towns, and neighborhoods in this state that don't suffer ( on the same scale) from the issues that Providence does. Darlington, Upper Smithfield Ave. in Pawtucket, Bristol, Warren, parts of Woonsocket, Newport, and downtown East Greenwich all offer a slice of urban life without the hassle of everything you dislike @ Providence.

As Yossarian pointed out, I think the repeal of the residency requirement really hurt the city. It affected not only teachers, but also police and fire as well. It was a guaranteed "balance" that stabilized the community....but without a pay differential..it was doomed to fail and we all know that it could never hsppen due to the financial constraints the city is in......which brings me to an even larger issue.....The Prov. school department is short funds year after year because of the costs of a burgeoning ethnic population? I have an issue with that and I think everyone should as well. We need tougher legislation in this state to control funding for ESL and mandate English-only programs. We need to establish better enforcement and do a complete overhaul of our welfare system. You have to start at the bottom of the barrel and realize that true long-term solutions can only be found from getting to the root of the problem. The status quo is not acceptable in a state( out of only 3 in the nation) with a budget shortfall. (over 200 million) This is why it angers me when Sen. Pichardo and Sen. Diaz are proposing legislation for more entitlement programs that perpetuate the real issues facing this city and state today.

Now I know that I'm not going to solve every social ill of society, but I hope that this election year that some people in RI will at least come forward and try. So you see...my struggle on a broader level is also with the state. In any respect, I still love this city for all the reasons that you mentioned and I haven't made my mind yet. Hell, my career will pretty much dictate that. For now, I'm stay-put unless the cauldron tips over.

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The boiling cauldron has finally tipped over in my quest to seek solace in my humble abode. I have a few appointments on Monday to look at a few places over the river in East Providence. This will mean I will lose my absolutely gorgeous view of the State House and my walkable proximity to downtown, but I stand to gain much more with this move. For starters, I can now join the ranks of people in the Prov. metro who walk to work. More exercise and less fuel emissions is always good. See, I knew I could do my part.( referencing Coffee House chat) Secondly, the areas I'm looking at are still very urban and the neighborhood services are actually better and more plentiful. I'm eagerly awaiting the development on the East Prov. waterfront and dreaming of a commuter rail on the old railroad line. Finally, the cost of living in EP will actually be less in the long run. My insurance is going to be $500 less a year automatically, the rent is actually less, and I won't need to use my car to get to work. All in all, it should be a positive move. I had contemplated Pawtucket and North Providence in the beginning, but NP was too suburban-esque for me and Pawtucket was like a mini-Providence in terms of its rental transients. EP has a large stable Portuguese population and the overwhelming majority of the homes are well-kept and owner occupied. ( even the multi-units)

I had really wanted to buy, but I see the prices coming down a little in this area and the amount of foreclosure bargains rising steadily over the next 2 years. Let's see. For now, I'll be content with renting from a short distance. :thumbsup:

Your advice was appreciated Frankie.

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I had contemplated moving to East Providence as well, somewhere off Taunton Ave or Warren Ave. Warren Ave and Taunton Ave around the City Hall are nice urban neighborhoods with good restaruants as well. Riverside's not bad either, but it's farther away from Providence.

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I had contemplated moving to East Providence as well, somewhere off Taunton Ave or Warren Ave. Warren Ave and Taunton Ave around the City Hall are nice urban neighborhoods with good restaruants as well. Riverside's not bad either, but it's farther away from Providence.

East Providence is a nice move. It's close to the city, has its own great restaurants and urban areas above (as Recchia points out), and unlike, oh, say, Smith Hill and Federal Hill, the neighborhoods are safe, clean, and well kept.

I think East Providence will boom long before Smith Hill!

- Garris

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East Providence is a nice move. It's close to the city, has its own great restaurants and urban areas above (as Recchia points out), and unlike, oh, say, Smith Hill and Federal Hill, the neighborhoods are safe, clean, and well kept.

I think East Providence will boom long before Smith Hill!

- Garris

i'm actually strongly considering east prov for one of my next moves (probably not the very next one, but the one after that when i decide to buy).

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