If you’re on Twitter or Facebook and live in Providence, then you’ve seen this story posted a thousand times already today, if you’re not, then here you go:
→ The New York Times: 36 Hours in Providence, R.I.
Providence’s grit and obscurity make it easy to underestimate. On the verge of bankruptcy, with a former mayor who served four years in federal prison for racketeering conspiracy, the capital of the country’s smallest state has something of an image problem. But like Portland, Ore., or Austin, Tex., it’s also a town many times more creative and cosmopolitan than its modest population and municipal troubles suggest. Home to an Ivy League college, one of the best design schools in the country and a major culinary institute, Providence, unsurprisingly, has exceptional food, compelling art and architecture, a thriving gay scene and an inordinate number of very smart people. Yet the city remains unpretentious and affordable, a place where even the best restaurants rarely demand reservations.
→ Boston Society of Architects: Why punish Rhode Island?
…the [Boston-Providence] corridor has remained overshadowed, particularly after a few recent academic and professional Boston–Washington (Bos-Wash) rail concepts that shift the primary rail corridor between Boston and Washington westward, away from Providence and southern Rhode Island. The shift would reward regions and states, such as Connecticut, that have pursued a suburban auto-centric approach well into the 21st century. In turn, the process punishes Rhode Island after 15 years of rail-oriented advancement and three major breakthroughs…
See also: Fast Lane: High speed rail: right here, right now
→ The Naked City: Is a streetcar speedy? And other red herrings
But lost in that analysis, and in remarks by some that a streetcar is just a toy, is this: Development reacts to streetcars very differently from the way it reacts to bus routes.
Cities all over the country have built or are building streetcars and seeing them lure development. These are not all big places like Seattle, which has seen revitalization along its South Lake Union streetcar. They’re places like Little Rock, Ark., where North Little Rock has benefited from streetcar-induced development.
→ The New York Times: Would-Be Landlords Covet a Landmark
Problems at Kansas City’s Power and Light Building mirror the issues we’re having with our Superman Building.
Efficiency-minded office users no longer are attracted to the building’s small floor plates — there is only one tenant, which occupies three floors — so its viability is tied to reuse as apartments or a hotel. Developers who in the past have proposed just such conversions now are competing for one more shot to fulfill those dreams.
→ Smart Growth America: The difficult business of building on old gas stations
Across the country abandoned gas stations represent one of the trickiest problems facing small towns and big cities alike. In particular, old gas stations pose a threat to the land when their underground storage tanks begin to deteriorate, potentially leaking petroleum into the groundwater.