Rudy Bruner Award | 30 Years of Urban Excellence


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The Providence River Relocation project in Rhode Island’s capital city redirected rivers, overhauled transit infrastructure, and created a new riverfront downtown. Thirty years in the making, the relocation of the Woonasquatucket and Moshassuck rivers, construction of a new rail station, highway interchanges, and twelve bridges restored historical links among Providence’s Capital Center, College Hill, and downtown. The project improved traffic flow in and through downtown and added pedestrian-friendly spaces, including 1.5 miles of river walks, along with a new urban park including a restaurant, amphitheater, fountain, and boat landing.

Redirecting the rivers created new, marketable commercial land without demolishing existing buildings in the downtown national register, resulting in over $1 billion in development. The project re-knit adjacent neighborhoods and created public arts and cultural programming that attracts locals and tourists alike to the river’s edge. With an emphasis on small urban spaces within the large-scale redevelopment, the project uses high-quality materials, and the design of the lighting, landscaping, street furniture, tree grates, signage, and historical interpretation panels all welcome the public.

"The Providence River Relocation project pays great attention to the visual, tactile, and social support aspects of each design decision as well as imparting information on history and architectural heritage." 2003 Selection Committee

Publication Date



Bruner Foundation




Arts and Culture, Environmental Remediation, Infrastructure and Transit, Mixed-Use, Parks and Open Space, Architecture, Gerald Howes, William D. Warner, Friedrich St. Florian, Irving Haynes, faculty work


Architectural Engineering | Cultural Resource Management and Policy Analysis | Environmental Design | Historic Preservation and Conservation | Landscape Architecture | Urban, Community and Regional Planning

The Providence River Relocation Project



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