Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Oddly enough, I feel better having gotten this off my chest...

Went fishing with my father again today. No pictures this time though, no digital camera and oh, I didn't catch anything so there was that too. Still had fun though. Other than that I didn't do all that much today. Wifey and I went over to my parent's house for the usual barbecue fare yesterday. That was fun.

There has been something on my mind lately. There is a small section of Huntsville Alabama called The Village of Providence. It is a small patch of businesses and apartments that is new and hoping to lure young professionals. You see being from Providence I found it funny to hear of the little town taking the name of mine and even a small bit of inspiration from this my hometown. This article in the local paper made me think. Something about it made it seemed a bit goofy. Come up with something of your own. Be original. Were things jumping out at me. I brought it up with my wife and brother and they both were unimpressed with the idea. Out of the three respondents to my survey and the results were staggering. Not a great idea to model your new developments on existing cities and towns. Build and maintain a decent neighborhood and you will draw its own identity.

I really am not sure why this bothers me so much. Until now! I just checked out there website and while they do certainly thank the designers of this McNeighborhood not one mention of the original Providence.

I know what you are thinking folks. Simply using the word Providence in their title is nothing and I would have to agree with that. The thing is, if you check out the street names on this map of "The Village". Thayer, Hope, Meeting, Benefit, Biltmore, A little bit of googling and you would quickly find that these are all names of major streets in Providence. A square and fountain have even been developed as a replica of a square here in my fine city.

I keep thinking -- imitation is the highest form of flattery, but it doesn't help. I can't seem to let this go and there is no reason that I can think of as to why. It shouldn't matter and had I not moved away from Providence for about eight years I wouldn't have even given it a thought but it just bothers me. If people want to see the quaint little neighborhoods of Providence come up to Rhode Island and see the real thing. Spend some time and some money in The real Providence. A town with a little more (to be read, bunches more than your city's) history and not a town that was founded on someone's desk as a drawing and a marketing plan. I guess that's what bothers me. That someone, somewhere believes that by designing pretty buildings and mixing it with small businesses and planning it all out that you can create a sense of community. I am sure that it cannot be created. It must form over time and experience. Generations of familiar families and friends. Trusting the people around you. Can't plan it with shrubs and walkways folks. You have to earn it.


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