Few people are better suited to tell the story of Providence, Rhode Island’s remarkable comeback than Gene Bunnell. A student of the comeback for decades, Bunnell goes well beyond simplistic reductions to offer a clear, comprehensive and powerful story of revitalization as a multi-team sport. There are many heroes in this story. What made the difference was a cast of hundreds collectively willing to think big, and to value the diverse contributions of a broad range of contributors. A unique set of circumstances shaped what happened in Providence, but Bunnell does a great job of finding broad themes relevant to all those who are working to revitalize old cities.
— Robert G. Shibley, FAIA, FAICP, Dean, School of
Architecture and Planning, University at Buffalo
State University at New York
In clear and elegant prose, Bunnell captures all the many ways that saving older buildings has played a critical role in revitalizing “the Renaissance City.” More than just an interesting, well-told story, Transforming Providence provides an illustrative case study in how, through tools such as revolving funds, tax credits, and creative adaptive reuse, historic preservation can help reinvigorate cities all across America.
— Stephanie Meeks, President and CEO,
National Trust for Historic Preservation
This is what the modern history of a city should be: real characters persisting in their efforts to salvage a mangled downtown. Gene Bunnell tells a great story, with plenty of details—many of them applicable wherever the glacier of industry has receded, revealing the underlying assets of an American city. A great book!
— Andres Duany, Duany Plater-Zyberk FAIA, CNU
For all those who have endeavored to overcome the negative-thinking and pessimism that have too often plagued old industrial cities, Gene Bunnell’s book will be both an inspiration and a confidence-builder. Reading Transforming Providence will cause elected officials, private-sector leaders, non-profit organi-zations and citizens to recognize that creating a climate of cooperation is absolutely essential in order to revive a struggling city.
— John Mullin, Ph.D., FAICP, Emeritus Professor
Urban Planning, University of Massachusetts