|Land clearances in preparation for I-195 are apparent in this late 1950s photo of Providence, which as yet did not include an I-95 (from the dissertation).|
The first Downtown Providence master plan was published in 1959, a second in 1974, and a third in 1979; followed by several major plans and development projects in the eighties and nineties. The plans differed over the years in both style and scope, but there was a broad continuity of essential purpose among them—namely, to catalyze renewal of the downtown district. The plan authors likewise agreed (despite temporal, perceptual and ideological differences) on the principal cause of the Downtown’s troubles: namely, the rise of private car use and the drastic spatial transformations that followed. Thus, the record suggests that in the case of Downtown Providence there was a consistent correlation over time between transportation challenges—especially the spatial demands of private car use—and the will to plan, even in cases where the stated goals of individual master plans were not solely transportation-related.This looks like it'll be a great read (although I admit I've only glanced over it so far). Check it out.