January, 2004 Archives

Remember last month when I got an email from ProJo urban design columnist David Brussat about a Cry for Help post? Well, we got to talking and he mentioned he’d have to do a new column, visiting Providence five years from now. Today’s edition of the Providence Journal has that column (which means A Cry for Help is obviously shaping the events of the outside world, though we weren’t mentioned in the write up. Such is the life of the movers and shakers, behind the scenes, I guess).

It’s a great piece, which made me laugh out loud more than once. There are some more, shall we say, optimistic ideas in there, my favorite being the parking garages financed through a tax on modern architecture (though if that were to work I suppose it would mean a lot more nasty buildings…)

Mirroring a scary trend in quasi-governmental homeowners associations, a Downtown Neighborhood Association grabs the reins of power and installs a benign dictatorship of some sort (I’d imagine, as only a heavy hand could root out corruption and placate taxpayers, businesses and unions all at once).

There are a lot of great ideas in there that are more realistic, too, especially fast tracking good development, noise and graffiti control and later closing times for clubs and restaurants. Sadly, for that last one, the trend in Providence has been towards earlier closings. Living in New Orleans, where some bars never close, I can tell you that this system works much better than PVD’s currently mandated expulsion of drunk, angry and/or horny young people into the streets all at once.

I didn’t think it could get any better than the idea of Governor Laffey (hundreds pink flamingoes on the State House lawn!), but the special guest towards the end was just a pleasure. Go read it!

(in an act of eCivil Disobedience, I’ve cut an pasted the column in the “keep reading” section below, that way non-RI readers don’t have to be interrogated to enjoy this post)
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