Since 1847, Kennedy Plaza has served as the heart of the Providence’s transportation network. At the geographic center of the City, the Plaza sits between the Second Empire City Hall built in 1878, and the Beaux Arts Federal building completed in 1908. The impressive bookends frame the short ends of the plaza, while the long ends are contrasted by Burnside Park to the west and many of the City’s tallest buildings to the east.
New funding resources enabled the City and the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) to take on a re-visioning of the Plaza that reduces the focus on transportation by making more efficient bus berths and better orienting the tens of thousands of RIPTA riders every day, and also creates a sense of place that improves the plaza as a venue for events and festivals during non-peak ridership times. Using a strategy to increase visual connectivity between Burnside Park and the Plaza and take advantage of the decreased traffic lanes and increased Plaza space, the design deploys long groves of trees and a contemporary paving palette to reinforce the Plaza as a place of prominent scale of the city that also functions well at the scale of individuals catching the bus on their commute.
City of Providence in collaboration with
Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA)
2017 Merit Award in Design, Boston Society of Landscape Architects
Roll Barresi & Associates, wayfinding & signage
KMDG, landscape architect
Christian Phillips Photography