Providence named one of most livable cities in America

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Providence Named One of the “Most Livable” Cities in America by U.S. Conference of Mayors

Award recognizes Mayor Taveras’ urban space initiative for improving quality of life in the Capital City

– Mayor Angel Taveras Friday accepted the 2014 Outstanding Achievement Award in City Livability from the U.S. Conference of Mayors on behalf of the City of Providence.

The award recognizes mayoral leadership in developing and implementing programs that improve the quality of life in America’s cities, focusing on the leadership, creativity, and innovation demonstrated by the mayors. Providence received the award for its PopUp Providence project, a three-year-long urban space initiative launched by the Providence Department of Planning and Development in the fall of 2013 to enliven neighborhoods and engage residents with interactive artistic and cultural projects.

“The U.S. Conference of Mayors has confirmed what many of us in the Capital City already know: that Providence is one of the most livable cities in America,” said Mayor Taveras. “This recognition celebrates the creative ways we are boosting the quality of life for all residents of Providence.”

This year’s winning cities were selected by former mayors from a pool of hundreds of applicants. The annual U.S. Conference of Mayors’ City Livability Awards Program is sponsored by Waste Management, Inc.

“Our City Livability Awards Program gives us the opportunity to highlight mayoral leadership in making urban areas cleaner, safer, and more livable,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the Conference of Mayors. “We are grateful to Waste Management for its many years of support for the City Livability Awards Program, and for the opportunity to showcase the innovation and commitment of mayors and city governments across the country.”

“Congratulations to the Mayor and City of Providence,” said Christopher Collins, Senior New England District Manager of Waste Management. “Waste Management is proud to partner with the nation's mayors in celebrating innovation in all our cities. We’re especially pleased to recognize the City of Providence with its interactive PopUp Providence Program today, and honor Mayor Taveras as a leader in engaging Providence residents, workers and visitors in the City’s vitality.”

In addition to the two top awards, which went to New Orleans, LA and West Sacramento, CA, Outstanding Achievement Awards were given to four other cities with populations of 100,000 or more including Arlington, TX, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Mesa, AZ, and five cities with populations of less than 100,000, including Beverly Hills, CA, Braintree, MA, Roanoke, VA, Tamarac, FL and York, PA.

Award winners were selected at the 82nd Annual Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in June 2014.

PopUp Providence 2014 and The Providence Polaroid Project

Today’s award announcement took place at the site of the Providence Polaroid Project, an initiative to install a temporary Polaroid camera shop, instant film gallery, and participatory portrait studio in Downcity as part of the second round of PopUp Providence. Project creators Devan Durante and Brandon Lane designed the installation as a forum for Providence residents to celebrate the Capital City’s people and places.

Participation is free and residents are encouraged to use the Project’s instant camera collection to photograph Providence’s residents and cityscapes for inclusion in a gallery exhibition scheduled for late August. The Providence Polaroid Project is located at 235 Westminster Street through August 22.

“We are looking forward to a successful second season of PopUp Providence installations,” said Bonnie Nickerson, director of long-range planning for the City of Providence. “As evidenced by the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Outstanding Achievement in City Livability Award, PopUp Providence is highlighting the best of what Providence has to offer and bringing our community together in unique and interesting ways all around the city.”

The Providence Polaroid Project is one of eight temporary PopUp Providence installations scheduled to take place in Providence this summer.

In the coming weeks, look for:

•    Providence Putt Putt – a nine-hole miniature golf course at Armory Park.
•    I Am Providence Project – a series of fence-mounted wooden frames in public parks inscribed with the text “I am Providence.” Users are encouraged to take photos in the frames and share the images on social media.
•    Air Gallery – a collection of canvas paintings illustrating traditional folktales from diverse cultures displayed on utility poles in the Elmwood neighborhood.
•    Corrugated Community – a collaborative art project that will bring cardboard construction, fort building and public performances to neighborhood parks.
Other 2014 projects include an outdoor film series, a traveling Lego table and a new permanent mural in the Reservoir neighborhood.

Projects from PopUp Providence’s initial round last fall included the interactive “Before I Die” chalkboards downtown, music instruction and performance, Adirondack chairs along the Riverwalk, street signage for self-guided tours of the city, and the installation of a miniature park.

PopUp Providence is administered by the City’s Department of Planning and Development with $50,000 in funding annually from the Providence Redevelopment Agency. A third round of the project will take place next year.