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Soren

Providence Neighborhoods

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Providence has defined neighborhoods, used extensively by the city for planning. Now we're starting to see street signs that include the neighborhood name as well. I like this idea, as it reinforces the community aspects of neighborhoods.

What do people think of how the neighborhoods are defined? Is there room for change?

I am thinking of Hope Village, which is a near ideal definition of an urban village, but straddles the line of two "official" neighborhoods. Blackstone has no urban core (unless you count the area around Lippet Park, at the extreme north of the neighborhood). I'm sure other examples abound.

I also find it interesting that the new street signs include the Summit neighborhood, which doesn't exist on the official neighborhood maps.

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Very interesting question. We all throw these neighborhood names around, but how "formal" are they? Are they legal boundries? Wasn't this the whole issue in the building demolition flap that occurred several months ago, that "Downcity" really didn't exist so you couldn't have a preservation committee for it? As far as I know, these neighborhoods don't have any governmental structures and my guess would be they are just lines on a map used for planning purposes.

Regarding the actual neighborhood definitions, I think they are more historical than anything else. There was once a time preautomobile when somewhere like Summit, or especially Blackstone, was a suburb (even rural) area solidly outside "The City." Of couse, much has now changed. Immigration to the area "created" some of these neighborhoods as well.

I can't help thinking that today many of these distinctions are more for realtors than anything else. Use the term "Hope Village" with 99% of the people in Providence, and they'll have no idea what you're talking about (in fact, two people I know who live right in the heart of it had never heard the term before). There's no doubt, though, that despite how close they are, these areas have a vastly different feel. Blackstone is most certainly a different area than Fox Point, despite the fact you can walk from one to the other in less than 10 minutes.

- Garris

PS: Where are the new street signs?

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I always think of Federal Hill as Atwells Avenue and a couple blocks off Atwells and that's it. In reality the neighbourhood stretches across Broadway, that's just not Federal Hill to me.

The neighbourhoods change over time, I'm not sure that any of them were ever towns of their own, such as Allston-Brighton and Dorchester in Boston were.

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PS: Where are the new street signs?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I've seen them mostly along N Main and in the Summit neighborhood. For example, the side streets off N Main all now have a white street signs with a colored band on the top for the neighborhood name, so like

---------------

Summit

---------------

Rochambeau

----------------

I think some places downtown also have the same scheme for street signs identifying the Jewelry district, the financial district, the Downcity Arts district, etc.

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Downcity signs have a purple stripe.

I like the signs, but they are made out of a cheap metal and often are bent.

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Ah, those signs. I thought they'd been there for a while. Cotuit is right, they're pretty cheaply made.

Providence, in general, needs a big signage effort, especially in the West and South of the city where many areas have no signs at all. It's often hard to walk or drive around the city when many of the major roads don't have cross signs identifying what street you're on currently on (or what major street you'd be turning on to from a side street). I guess the assumption is that if the street is so significant, you should know what it is!

- Garris

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I guess the reason I brought this up is because I was thinking about some of the things I've read about workable neighborhoods and "urban villages". Someone said that ideal size is 1/4 mile radius around a commercial core/transit stop. This would make a bunch of globby neighborhoods roughly 1/2 mile across with some commercial activity at the center.

Some of the commercial centers in Providence are strip developments (*not* strip malls, but long commercial streets like Atwells Ave. or N. Main). So you could potentially get long oblong neighborhoods still about a 1/2 mile across.

The "official" neighborhoods don't really work like this. Some (Wayland) are almost perfectly true to this idea. Others (West Broadway) are too big to fit the bill. Any thoughts on neighborhoods that do or don't work, or even if this ideal is, well, ideal?

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Btw, if you haven't seen this site, there are some really good maps at:

http://www.edc.uri.edu/riatlas/

I like knowing where the commercial cores are when thinking about this stuff.

Here is one of Providence land use (and this is the *small* version):

pr_landuse.GIF

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Btw, if you haven't seen this site, there are some really good maps at:

http://www.edc.uri.edu/riatlas/

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Wow, that site rocks my world! I like that there is no low density housing in Providence (I checked, there ain't none in Pawtucket or Central Falls either).

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Wow, that site rocks my world! I like that there is no low density housing in Providence (I checked, there ain't none in Pawtucket or Central Falls either).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Interesting that there are no "mixed use" categories either.

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Wow, that site rocks my world! I like that there is no low density housing in Providence (I checked, there ain't none in Pawtucket or Central Falls either).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

What Cotuit said... great, great site Soren... thanx for sharing it with us.

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Interesting that there are no "mixed use" categories either.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Quite right. I think the whole Wickenden corridor is incorrectly represented on the above map as a result.

- Garris

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