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|Roger Williams, Prospect Park, Providence. (September
This paper has been developed under Historic Preservation Program,
School of Architecture, Art & Historic Preservation at Roger
Williams University. The school has an urban campus in Providence,
where preservation, architecture and art students visit places and
working on community projects.
Roger Williams is no stranger to Providence, for he founded the
city in 1636, having come from Massachusetts, where he has been
persecuted. So Roger Williams is much like Taiwan's early founder
Cheng Cheng-kung who came to Tainan in 1662.
This paper provides a background for the case studies presented
at the International Conference for the Rehabilitation and Reuse
of Historic Buildings and Districts. After many discussions and
much helpful guidance from Professor Taur, this writer has developed
an overview on historic districts and case studies. These include:
- Historic Districts and their development in the United States,
and in Providence, Rhode Island
- Railroads and rivers relocation
- Downtown ("Downcity") Providence
- Industrial Sites preservation
Through the symposium, it is hope that this paper is the first
step in further cooperate dialogue and endeavors. Through this paper
and presentation, It is hoped that Taiwan can learn from some of
Providence's successes and mistakes.
By example, Providence's preservation work is particularly relevant
to the conference themes. In Providence, historic districts today
are very different from those fifty years ago.
Today, historic preservation no longer stands as a lone defender
and resource for historic buildings and their greater context.
Today, preservationists work with a number of allied professions,
and a vast array of federal, state and city programs are combined.
|Innovation and creativity, in so many ways: with
art, design and historic preservation as the centerpieces of
this "Renaissance City." Here, public art frames a
newly-restored multipurpose river park. In the distance, a highway
that will soon be relocated to improve safety while reconnecting
historic neighborhoods that have been separated for 50 years.
|Collier Park, a new urban park where citizens
can fish, launch watercraft, and picnic. This land, now one
of the city's urban jewels, was a diamond-in-the-rough: until
recently the site was a hill of coal used for the city's electrical
generating plant. (September 2002)
For example, Providence has the following traditional and innovative
- It has earned its self-described name of "Renaissance City"
through fifteen years of exemplary legislation, funding, cooperative
partnerships and projects, which have served as models for other
- Through the 1990s, it relocated its railroad tracks and infrastructure;
restored its historic railroad station, and constructed a new
station. It also relocated and restored its rivers, creating a
beautiful urban waterfront.
- In the 1990s it designated its entire downtown as an historic
district, being the only city in America to do so.
- It has a 1995 state Greenways Act that created a first-ever
statewide council to coordinate greenways efforts, which include
- In 1998, Vice-president Gore announced that Providence was one
of 16 communities nationwide designated as a federal Brownfields
- It has passed the Mill Building Revitalization Act, which has
been coupled with economic incentives and the creation of the
country's first thematic, non-continguous local historic districts
that includes over 200 commercial and industrial sites.
- Federal and state tax credits that total 50% of rehabilitation
costs for certified projects on historic structures.
- New statewide building codes that benefit historic structures
and rehabilitation projects.
And more, which shall be addressed in this paper and discussed
during the conference.