Providence River Relocation

Providence, Rhode Island

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.

Top photo: A look at the Providence River during the annual WaterFire Festival. Source: Rudy Bruner Award.

Similar Projects


Birmingham, Michigan, downtown revival #thisisCNU

Birmingham, Michigan

After three decades of 20th century population loss and commercial decline, Birmingham, Michigan, committed to building a new identity: “The Walkable Community.” Now, thanks to forward-thinking planning across multiple sectors, the city has grown


Norton Commons

Prospect, Kentucky

What was once a center for progressive farming techniques in the Southeast is now a progressive New Urban development.


Providence River Relocation Project

Providence, Rhode Island

The Providence River Relocation project in Rhode Island’s capital city redirected rivers, overhauled transit infrastructure, and created a new riverfront downtown.