In the mid-century, Providence’s cohesiveness was abruptly interrupted by the construction of Interstate I-195 which severed the main city District and the riverfront from the downtown core. In 1995 the Providence Foundation and the City of Providence requested the relocation of Interstate I-195 to reconnect and reactivate this marginalized portion of the city. Following the extensive planning efforts of several public agencies, foundations, business owners, residents, and non-profit institutions, the district has been reconnected and a city is emerging that did not exist a decade prior. In August 2019 the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge opened and the substantial increase of activity that followed is clear evidence of how smart planning and thoughtful design can yield catalytic results, both social and economic. Performing as an urban mediator, the bridge not only creates a direct connection between new waterfront parks but has also generated numerous opportunities for economic growth and programmatic interventions to encourage community connection and social engagement.
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