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2015 Providence Symposium

Beyond Buildings: Preserving The Livable Neighborhood 

All of Providence’s neighborhoods are historic, and historic preservation informs how all of us engage with the places where we live, work, and play. Providence’s neighborhoods help us trace how the City was built, and why. Through them, we reveal the people, cultures and economics that contributed to the city’s evolution. Each neighborhood tells a unique story of Providence and its people. Over time, as the city matured and populations shifted, local landmarks also took on new roles, uses, and meanings and residential, commercial, civic, and recreational spaces evolved.

The 2015 Providence Symposium will examine neighborhood identity, neighborhood assets and the importance of “human capital” to the city’s success. Building on our 2014 focus on downtown Providence and what makes a great city, we move into the neighborhoods to contextualize current trends in immigration, mobility, and home ownership; discuss programs and policy blueprints for upward mobility, sustainability, and community development; and honor the individual character of Providence’s neighborhoods.

The traits of a great city include neighborhoods that are pleasant, safe, and well maintained. These are places that foster their residents’ sense of wellbeing
and offer opportunities for health, wealth, and quality of life. We believe great places are nurtured by preserving places of architectural and historic significance. Preservation sustains the distinctive cultural histories and unique character of our neighborhoods and downtown districts. 

The Providence Preservation Society invites you to join us in a dynamic conversation this year at the 2015 Providence Symposium—

• How does community development preserve and celebrate a historic neighborhood’s identity, express the city’s history as a whole, and create upward mobility for residents?
• What actions can the City of Providence, stakeholders and the community take to increase homeownership, decrease abandoned properties, and seed a positive trajectory in Providence’s communities?
• How can we activate our neighbors and the local residents to build their own communities - with great schools and community landmarks, quality services and good jobs, and all together beautiful places to live?

 Join us this fall as we discuss the embedded opportunities found within our historic neighborhoods.

Symposium Venue 

Cathedral Postcard The 2015 Providence Symposium will take place at King's Cathedral in Olneyville, 1860 Westminster Street, Providence (click for map). Built in 1889-90 as the Episcopal Church of the Messiah, the building was designed by Boston-based Peabody & Stearns architects. Now owned by The King’s Cathedral, the building is located at the heart of Olneyville Square.

King's Cathedral Stairs The Symposium will take place in a second-floor auditorium. Unfortunately, the venue us not ADA accessible and the event space is reachable only by stairs. Please contact PPS at 401-831-7440 with any accessibility concerns. 

The reception on Thursday, November 5th, will take place at 38 Dike Street, directly adjacent to King's Cathedral.

Both on-street and off-street parking will be available.

Above: Postcard c. 1907 showing Messiah Episcopal Church (now King's Cathedral), courtesy Providence Public Library.


Donovan Rypkema 
November 5, 2015

Rypkema Donovan Rypkema is president of Heritage Strategies International. HSI was established in 2004 as a companion firm to PlaceEconomics, a consulting firm of which Rypkema is the principal. PlaceEconomics specializes in services to public and non-profit sector clients who are dealing with downtown and neighborhood commercial district revitalization and the reuse of historic structures. The activities of Heritage Strategies International focus on the intersection between the built heritage and economic development. He has undertaken assignments in 49 US states, 9 Canadian provinces and more than 45 countries. He also teaches a graduate course in preservation economics at the University of Pennsylvania where he received the 2008 G. Holmes Perkins Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Rypkema began his consulting practice in Rapid City, South Dakota and relocated to Washington, DC in 1985. He has performed real estate and economic development consulting services for State and local governments and non-profit organizations with interests in a broad range of properties, from National Historic Landmark Structures to Main Street commercial centers. His specific fields of consultation include: feasibility analyses for real estate development; training in community-based development; economic revitalization of downtowns; public-private partnerships for heritage buildings and the rehabilitation of historic structures. Today Mr. Rypkema is recognized as the industry leader in the economics of preserving historic structures. Since 1983 he has provided ongoing consulting services to the National Trust for Historic Preservation and its National Main Street Center.

Rypkema was educated at Columbia University receiving a Masters of Science degree in Historic Preservation. He has lectured widely on economic and preservation issues relating to rehabilitation, community development and commercial revitalization. Mr. Rypkema’s short courses and workshops have been delivered to architects, bankers, developers, preservationists, planners, and downtown managers. He is author of several publications including Community Initiated Development, The Economics of Rehabilitation, and the Feasibility Assessment Manual for Reusing Historic Buildings. His articles have appeared in the Journal of the American Planning Association, Architectural Record, The Journal of Commercial Bank Lending, Urban Land, Real Estate Finance, Investment Decisions, Vital Speeches, Preservation Forum, the Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, Architectural Conservation and others. Additionally he authored chapters on heritage economics for the World Bank book, The Economics of Uniqueness, Heritage as an Asset for Inner-City Development, published by the Dutch Culture Ministry, and in Reconnecting the City, a book on the implementation of the new UNESCO protocol on the Historic Urban Landscape.

In the US Rypkema has worked with such groups as the Urban Land Institute, the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, the American Planning Association, Smart Growth America, and the International Downtown Association.

Federal Government clients have included the U.S. Army, the Department of State, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Interior, and the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation for whom he prepared a report entitled Measuring Economic Impacts of Historic Preservation.

Mr. Rypkema has conducted statewide studies of the economic impact of historic preservation in Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Indiana, New York, Georgia, Delaware, Connecticut, Utah and Maryland, citywide studies in Raleigh, Savannah, Pittsburgh and San Antonio and analyses of the economic impact of Main Street in Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Michigan. Most recently his firm measured the catalytic impact of the federal rehabilitation tax credit for the US National Trust for Historic Preservaiton.

International clients have included the World Bank, the Inter American Development Bank, the Council of Europe, the United Nations Development Program, Europa Nostra, the Netherlands Culture Ministry and others. Rypkema was the lead witness at a hearing of the European Parliament regarding heritage conservation and the economic crisis. He is a member of the UN Economic Commission for Europe Team of Specialists on Public-Private Partnerships, on the Board of Directors of Global Urban Development and a member of the Senior Advisory Board of the Global Heritage Foundation.

Rypkema’s book, The Economics of Historic Preservation: A Community Leader’s Guide, originally published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is widely used by preservationists nationwide. It has been translated into Russian and Korean.

In 2012 PlaceEconomics established the Rightsizing Cities Initiative (RCI). This program is a data based approach to assist municipalities in prioritizing their neighborhood level investments and in incorporating historic resources into their comprehensive rightsizing strategies.

In the fall of 2012 Rypkema received the Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Crowninshield Award is the nation’s highest preservation honor and is awarded for lifetime contribution to historic preservation in the United States.

Majora Carter
November 6, 2015

Carter Majora Carter is an urban revitalization strategy consultant, real estate developer, and Peabody Award winning broadcaster.  She is responsible for the creation and successful implementation of numerous green-infrastructure projects, policies, and job training & placement systems.

After establishing  Sustainable South Bronx and Green For All (among other organizations) to carry on that work, she built on this foundation with innovative ventures and insights into urban economic developments designed to help move Americans out of poverty.

Her long list of awards and honorary degrees include accolades from groups as diverse as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, John Podesta’s Center for American Progress, Goldman Sachs, as well as a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship.  Her 2006 TEDtalk was one of the first 6 videos to launch their groundbreaking website.  Majora is a Board Member of the US Green Building Council, and the Andrew Goodman Foundation.

Majora has continually set new standards of excellence with projects in her South Bronx community, while expanding her reach through philanthropic pursuits and business interests that have all pointed toward greater self-esteem and economic potential for low-income people everywhere.

twitter: @MajoraCarter 


Ned Kaufman
November 7, 2015

Kaufman Ned Kaufman has been thinking about heritage and preservation for a long time. In recent years his thoughts have turned increasingly to the big mobilizations of our time, especially the fights to overcome global warming, racism, and economic injustice—and to where preservation fits in the big picture. He is Adjunct Associate Professor of Historic Preservation at Columbia University, where he has taught graduate seminars on preservation and social justice and on working with diverse communities. He is also principal of Kaufman Heritage Conservationcarrying out projects related to preservation policy, education, and the public lands. He is the author of Place, Race, and Story: Essays on the Past and Future of Historic Preservation.

Back in the early Neolithic, Dr. Kaufman earned a PhD in architectural history from Yale University, following which he was professor at the University of Chicago and Columbia’s School of Architecture, and guest curator of the inaugural exhibition of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. From 1990 to 2000 he was director of historic preservation for the Municipal Art Society of New York, leading successful campaigns to preserve the African Burial Ground, Audubon Ballroom, the south side of Ellis Island, and other sites. Subsequently he founded and directed Place Matters, the preservation program at Pratt Institute, and the research and training programs for Rafael Viñoly Architects.

Dr. Kaufman enjoys speaking with professional colleagues and students, which he does in both English and Spanish, in the U.S., Mexico, Cuba, and South America.

RICH 2015 Dr. Kaufman's appearance at the Providence Symposium is made possible by a grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.