Providence ranked No. 2 most ‘livable’ downtown in U.S.

Rhode Island’s capital city ranks second in the nation for 2014 as one of the most livable downtowns in the U.S., according to Livability.com, a blog that produces the rankings annually. More

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Providence ranked No. 2 most ‘livable’ downtown in U.S.

COURTESY NORTHEAST COLLABORATIVE ARCHITECTS
THE RECENT RENOVATION of the Arcade Providence was among the improvement projects in downtown Providence cited in Livability.com's article ranking U.S. cities by the livability of their downtown districts. Providence ranked second, below Forth Worth, Texas.
Posted 3/17/14

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s capital city ranks second in the nation for 2014 as one of the most livable downtowns in the U.S., according to Livability.com, a blog that produces the rankings annually.

Fort Worth, Texas, was the only city in the country ranked ahead of Providence.

“Having a great downtown is about more than just having a great main street,” said Matt Carmichael, Livability.com editor. “A downtown should have a cultural and retail focal point, like a main street, but it has to expand beyond that, providing a solid core for the entire community.”

According to Livability.com editors, evidence of livability in Providence can be seen in 20 years worth of improvement projects, “including the relocation of rivers and railroads and the creation of public gathering areas,” which have turned downtown Providence into “one of the most vibrant communities on the East Coast.”

The city boasts more than 4,500 downtown residents, the blog stated, with half the state’s office space located in downtown Providence. Livability.com also cited the recent renovation of the historic Arcade Providence and relocation last year of Hasbro Inc.

“The city continues to see significant investment downtown with new construction, major renovations and businesses moving in,” Livability.com said. “The 113-year-old Providence Public Library was recently restored, and city leaders plan on turning the centrally located Kennedy Plaza into a more functional and attractive space, envisioning it as a place for concerts, festivals and commerce.”

Key indicators listed in the article include 2.8 percent average income growth, a high number of home owners, and a nearly even ratio of jobs to residents downtown.

According to its website, Livability.com “explores what makes small to mid-sized cities great places to live, work and visit.” Besides the annual rankings, the blog provides monthly top 10 lists and photography and engages in social media on the topic.

In addition to Fort Worth and Providence, the top downtowns in the U.S. included:

    3. Indianapolis, Ind.

    4. Provo, Utah

    5. Alexandria, Va.

    6. Frederick, Md.

    7. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

    8. Bellingham, Wash.

    9. Eugene, Ore.

    10. Birmingham, Ala.

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