Greater City Providence

News & Notes

The New York Times: A Michigan City Bets on Food for Its Growth

The idea of building a year-round public market to tie the city’s skilled chefs to the region’s big complement of young farmers had already attained an air of inevitability by the time this Midwestern city held its first Restaurant Week three summers ago.

Next year, just in time for the fourth annual Restaurant Week, Grand Rapids is scheduled to open the $30 million, 130,000-square-foot Downtown Market, a destination that is expected to attract 500,000 visitors a year. The three-story brick and glass building, under construction in a neighborhood of vacant turn-of-the-20th century warehouses, is intended by its developers to be a state-of-the art center of commerce for the culinary arts and fresh local foods.

It is also seen as having the potential to accomplish much more.

My SimCity version of Providence in my head has a Public Market building on the parking lot next to Ri Ra, with through access from Burnside Park to Waterplace Park.

The Atlantic Cities: 5 Models for Cheaper, Greener Housing for Veterans

Earlier this year, I wrote about a terrific project providing apartments, supportive services and job training for veterans in central Milwaukee. On the green side, Veterans Manor earned a 92 out of a possible 100 points on a local “Green Built” standard, while enjoying a transit-accessible location with a Walk Score of 72. The building has a commercial kitchen that services both the residents and local schools while providing job training and experience.

When we discussed the statewide ballot questions the cost of the Veterans Home came up, $94 million bond. My other reservation about the Veterans Home was its location.

The WalkScore for the existing Veterans Home in Bristol is, “42 Car-Dependant.” A Veterans Home is populated by many elderly and disabled people, which is why they need a home, most of those people cannot drive. Additionally, services are provided for homeless Veterans who obviously cannot afford a car and need access to public transit and jobs.

If they were in a town center or near a bus line at least, they would have opportunity to leave the home and interact with members of the community, keeping them active and vital. Being stuck in a home on Metacom Avenue in Bristol is not the best we can do for our Veterans.

Market Watch: Retire Here, Not There: Rhode Island

In the tiniest state in the nation, residents say, size matters—and smaller is better. Rhode Islanders have the advantage of being able to get almost anywhere in the state—including its jagged coastline and the cultural mecca of Providence—in an hour, and to be in a number of other states in two. The small size helps Rhode Island buck the Northeastern stereotype of the unfriendly local, says Grafton “Cap” Willey, managing director at CBIZ MHM, an accounting firm. “Everyone knows everyone and says hello,” he says. “If you own a business in Rhode Island, you meet all the senators and governors and probably know them on a first-name basis.”

CEOs for Cities: How Colleges are Reviving Downtown

Downtown college campuses are a popular trend to follow for talent retention and galvanizing downtown activity. As this trend grows and becomes more successful across the nation, more research into particulars may be necessary to understand their effect on urban revitalization. It is clear, however, that downtown college campuses are yielding interesting benefits for cities such as Chicago, Richmond, Omaha, Cleveland, and Tacoma.

The Walking Bostonian: Unbunching the bus, part 2

Last time I discussed some of the reasons that buses bunch. Here’s some possible ways to help alleviate the problem, if put into practice.

Urbanophile: Providence Knows Nothing?

There was only one US metro with more than a million people classified as a Working Region: Providence. In effect, the study is saying that Providence, and the rest of the cities on this list, don’t really know anything at a particularly high level.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.

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