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Making Providence a greater city for 5 years

5th Birthday Candle

Photo (cc) AndrewEick

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the first post made on Greater City: Providence.

Greater City: Providence was created as a way to catalogue what was taking place at the Providence Tomorrow Charrettes and ensure that an urban perspective was heard and had a place to be discussed. While Matt, Bret, and I and others had been discussing the charrettes and how we wanted to approach them and just generally having an outlet for discussing urbanism in Providence for a while, October 8, 2006 marked the birth of this site and its first post.

Over the years the site has evolved into what it is today, a place to spread news and print commentary about the urban condition in Providence. We’ve published 1,743 posts, have received over 6,500 comments from readers on those posts, and have had over half a million page views.

We reach a wide audience in the city and beyond and it is always a joy when we’re out and about and someone tells us they read the site. Even more of a joy is when someone reads something on the site and it prompts them to act on an issue. We’re proud that we can prompt citizens into action and influence the decision makers to respond to issues.

We want to thank you all for reading, some since day one, and others who find the site every day. Knowing that people are reading and appreciating the site makes us continue with it. We hope to be at it for another 5 years.

While we have your attention, allow us to remind you all the ways you can connect with Greater City: Providence in addition to this site.


Tuesday Morning

Tuesday Morning

Primary day for the Mayoral election in New York City. I walk from my house the block to PS 84 to cast my vote.

Rather than wait for the bus, I walk the 8 blocks from PS 84 to Ditmars Station, because it is such a stunning day. I grab a coffee before climbing the stairs up to the station and getting on the N train.

I had taken to crossing the platform at Queensboro Plaza from the N train to the 7 train, allowing me to avoid the crowds at Times Square. After leaving Court House Square the train makes the bend around 5Pointz and before going under the East River I’d catch a view of the Towers.

I get off the train at 5th Avenue in Manhattan and come above ground at Bryant Park. As I cross 5th Avenue making my way to my office on Madison Avenue, looking left I could see the Towers again. I probably didn’t that morning, no reason to; besides I was busy looking right to make my way across the street.

When I get to my office the longest part of my commute begins, the interminable wait for the damn elevator. It always took forever. Most days a collection of co-workers formed and the morning ritual of complaining about the elevator commenced. This day however, the conversation was about the weather. It was glorious! The most amazing blue sky, I remember talking to people about it, even strangers on the train were talking to each other about it, it was truly remarkable. One of the very few perfect New York City days between our horrifically muggy summers and windswept winters. I was already thinking about lunch at Bryant Park and the best time to get there to get a chair on the lawn.

The elevator eventually brought me to my office on the 8th floor. Sitting at my desk I must have been checking my email or something. At some point I called a co-worker downstairs. She couldn’t talk, a plane had crashed at the World Trade Center and she was trying to get in touch with a friend downtown.

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Memorial Day

Photo (cc) eddiecoyote

Ted Nesi compiled the names of all the Rhode Islanders who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, courtesy of The Washington Post’s tally:

  • Spec. Michael Andrade, 28, of Bristol (2003)
  • Capt. Matthew August, 28, of North Kingstown (2004)
  • Sgt. Gregory Belanger, 24, of Narragansett (2003)
  • Sgt. Charles Caldwell, 38, of North Providence (2003)
  • Lance Cpl. Holly Charette, 21, of Cranston (2005)
  • Pfc. Kyle Coutu, 20, of Providence (2010)
  • 2nd Lt. Matthew Coutu, 23, of North Kingstown (2005)
  • Sgt. Moises Jazmin, 25, of Providence (2006)
  • Sgt. Michael Paranzino, 22, of Middletown (2010)
  • Sgt. Christopher Potts, 38, of Tiverton (2004)
  • Spec. Dennis Poulin, 26, of Cumberland (2011)
  • Lance Cpl. Matthew Serio, 21, of North Providence (2004)
  • Cpl. Brian St. Germain, 22, of Warwick (2006)
  • Lt. Francis Toner IV, 26, of Narragansett (2009)
  • Sgt. Michael Weidemann, 23, of Newport (2006)

Update: Nesi was alerted by the Secretary of State’s office of 8 more Rhode Island soldiers who have died since Sept. 11th, 2001:

  • Staff Sgt. Joseph Camara
  • Master Sgt. Richard Ferguson
  • Petty Officer Ronald Gill
  • Missionary John Kelly
  • Sgt. 1st Class Curtis Mancini
  • Sgt. 1st Class Danilo Nuenz
  • Chief Warrant Officer 5 Sharon Swartworth
  • Lance Cpl. John VanGyzen

News & Notes

→ Sidewalk Rage: Mental Illness or ‘Altruistic Punishment?’ [Time Magazine | Healthland]

While it sounds like an oxymoron, altruistic punishment is basically how social norms get enforced. So when you expel a huffy “Excuse me!” to the rude sidewalk clogger in front of you who has stopped midstride to check his BlackBerry, you’re trying to discourage behavior that endangers other members of the society. It’s called “altruistic” punishment, because your efforts to protect civility come at personal cost with little chance of personal benefit: you are far more likely to get an obscene gesture or even a punch in the mouth than a thank you.

→ Nonprofit group wins funds for Olney Village rehab project [The Providence Journal]

Olneyville Housing Corporation has received key financing assistance from Rhode Island Housing that will permit the nonprofit organization to move forward with its Olney Village project.

The $10-million development project will turn 11 foreclosed properties and a large vacant lot in the Providence neighborhood into 39 affordable apartments, plus spaces for two organizations: the food pantry formerly located at St. Teresa’s Church and the Manton Avenue Project, a youth arts and theater program.

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We’re starting to feel like Susan Lucci over here

Thank you to everyone who voted to nominate us as Best Blog in the Phoenix Best of 2011 poll. Now that we’ve been nominated, it would be wicked super if you would vote for us to win. You can vote once a day. Make sure you go to the end of the poll to submit your final votes.

Tell all your friends, your family, your co-workers, and your cat to vote too! We’re getting tired of being Susan Lucci to the Daily Dose.


City Plan Commission Meeting (01/19)

TUESDAY, JANUARY 19, 2010 4:45 PM

Department of Planning and Development, 4th Floor Auditorium 400 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903


Call to Order
Roll Call
Approval of Meeting Minutes: December 1st and 15th, 2009
Approval of the CPC meeting schedule for the 2010 calendar year
Designation of Recording Secretary


View Larger Map

1. Referral 3321 – Petition to abandon a portion of Penrose Avenue
Petition to abandon the unimproved portion of Penrose Avenue. (Blackstone)


View Larger Map

2. Case No. 09-050MA – 395 Promenade Street (Master Plan Approval)
The applicant is seeking Master Plan Approval to reuse approximately 2,600 SF of the southwest portion of an existing 2 story building and construct a new 23,000 SF one story laboratory building. The building will be used as a blood bank. Onsite parking will be provided. The property abuts Promenade and Bath Streets. (AP 67 Lots 341, 522 and 523) (Smith Hill)

The applicant has requested that this item be continued to the February 23, 2010 meeting.


3. College Hill, Wayland & Fox Point Neighborhood Plan
Continuation of the discussion between Commission members and staff regarding the development potential of the “Shooters” site based on the approved neighborhood plan. The discussion will also address the legal issues surrounding downzoning the site. No additional public comment will be taken.

4. Neighborhood Plan Presentations
Presentation of the West End/Federal Hill/ Reservoir, Charles/Wanskuck and Hartford/Manton/Silver Lake neighborhood plans by DPD staff. The plans will be reviewed by the Commission and public comment will be taken. The Commission may choose to act to adopt one or more of the neighborhood plans presented.




Yes, a new theme is in the works

You may see the look of the site change from time to time as we work on getting a new theme up and running (the old and new theme may pop in and out of existence as it is worked on). We’ll let you know when it is all settled in and solicit your feedback.