City Plans and Studies

PPS Research Library

PPS maintains a library of plans and studies dating back to the 1960s. Our library may be visited by appointment.

 

Current City Plans

Innovation and Design District / I-195 Redevelopment District (site

Capital Center Development District (PDF

City Walk (site

Broad Street (site

Comprehensive Plan (PDF

Zoning Ordinance (site

Other Key Initiatives of Providence’s Planning Department (site

 

Prior City Plans

COMING SOON

 

Other Studies

Historic Preservation and Affordable Housing (PDF)

 

The College Hill Study

Online Exhibit: “The PPS Legacy: How the College Hill Study Saved Providence.”

In 1956, the Providence Preservation Society was founded by a group of concerned citizens in opposition to wide-scale demolition of historic structures within College Hill. In 1957, the Society partnered with the City of Providence to solicit federal funds for a study of the area.

In 1959, The College Hill Study of Historic Area Renewal was published, and became the first urban planning study in the country to use Urban Renewal Administration, Housing and Home finance Agency (now known as the Department of Housing and urban Development, or HUD) funds for the purposes of preservation. Beyond that, the study aimed “…to develop methods and techniques for a program of preservation, rehabilitation and renewal in a historic area which can serve as a guide for other areas with similar problems.”

Although 2/3 of the project was funded by HUD, nearly $20,000 (equivalent to $168,762.28 today) was raised by PPS. The Study surveyed over 300 acres and 1,700 individual buildings, eventually leading to the creation of a College Hill local historic district, and, in 1970, a National Historic Landmark District.

The College Hill Study showed that there is no inherent conflict between the growth of a city and historic preservation. Two of the main goals of the project were to “develop techniques for integrating areas of historic architecture into proposed redevelopment programs” and “demonstrate visually how contemporary architecture can successfully relate to existing historic architecture.” The “Renewal of College Hill” chapter showcases exactly that: restored colonial houses are interspersed with mid-century modern townhouses on wide pedestrian thoroughfares with ample greenspace.

An imagined view of a revitalized South Main Street, 1959

The study also stressed the importance of private investment and personal initiative to redevelop blighted properties. The restored houses seen today on north Benefit Street are testament to the success of the project.

Restored homes on Benefit Street. A PPS House Marker can be seen on 62 Benefit.

Below is a digitized copy of the second edition of the College Hill Study, published in 1967. The renderings of future development are featured in our online exhibit, “The PPS Legacy: How the College Hill Study Saved Providence.”

The College Hill Study of Historic Area Renewal, 2nd. Ed, 1967

College Hill Study – Forward

College Hill Study – Chapter 1 – Preservation in America

College Hill Study – Chapter 2 – Survey Techniques – Part I

College Hill Study – Chapter 2 – Survey Techniques – Part II

College Hill Study – Chapter 2 – Survey Techniques – Part III

College Hill Study – Chapter 3 – Renewal of College Hill – Part I

College Hill Study – Chapter 3 – Renewal of College Hill – Part II

College Hill Study – Chapter 3 – Renewal of College Hill – Part III

College Hill Study – Chapter 3 – Renewal of College Hill – Part IV

College Hill Study – Chapter 4 – Progress Since 1959

© 2018 Providence Preservation Society. All rights reserved.