Column: Digging into the Route 195 “Toolkit”

Numbered development parcels on Route 195 land, in Providence. (I-195 Redevelopment District Commission)

Numbered development parcels on Route 195 land, in Providence. (I-195 Redevelopment District Commission)

On Monday evening, breaking only for the Olympic figure skating in Sochi, I plowed through the 139 pages of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission’s new “Developer’s Toolkit.” LINK_Toolkit(1)

My object was to find out what sort of vision the commissioners had for the new district on 40 vacant acres of land freed by the recent relocation of Route 195. Half of the land is devoted to parks and half is divided into 16 developable plots, as listed in the document’s index of parcels, or 19 if you count the parcels in the above map. The parcels are assigned numbers scattered at random between 2 and 42. No Parcel 1 exists, but there is a Parcel 1A. Parcels 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 9, but not 4, 7, 10 and so on. Three parks are labeled P2, P3 and P4. But no P1.

Anyway, the Toolkit is described as “Convenient, Predictable, Efficient: One Stop for Development Approval.” A “compliant project,” it says, can complete an approval process of two levels in six months, but a “Time to Approval” flow chart on page 33 suggests that 22 months may be more realistic, especially for projects that need variances or have compliance issues.

To read the rest, please visit The Providence Journal


About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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2 Responses to Column: Digging into the Route 195 “Toolkit”

  1. There seems to be plenty of room for both on the western park parcel. You could still push for that, but don’t let RISD design it! (Unless they promose to design something non-egotistical, something that fits into the Providence architectural heritage.


  2. Robin says:

    I also read the Tool Kit… I am disgusted by the lack of ambition in this State.. what happened to ingenuity.. vision.. the 195 commission has the only valuable piece of land of the parcels desgnated as another damn park!!!.. I have been pushing for the development of a cultural science center with and Aquarium on that land with Riverboard walk for more opportunities for small business to feed off of the presence of a larger attraction..
    Tenn built a beautiful Aquairium and river walk .. we have zero here aside from PPAC, trinity and a damn Mall.. think big!!! attractions that fit the needs of the area.. science based. RISD can design it, Brown and URI could do research, J and W could run it?? RIC and CCRI could have student learning opps there.. NE tech and CCRI could train there.. RW and Bryant could intern legal and finance…
    the local youth would have a tangible place to apply scientific learning.. like in BOSTON!!!!!!
    robin g


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