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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The process of local preservation, urban renewal, and national park building at Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence, Rhode Island, reveals important facets of the urban park idea. In 1958, the Providence Preservation Society and the Providence City Plan Commission jointly released the College Hill Study, which called for renewal of the College Hill neighborhood through preservation of the architecturally significant homes, selective demolition, and the creation of a new National Park Unit dedicated to Providence’s founder, Roger Williams. The new park, established in 1965, went through a lengthy planning process before opening in 1984. The planning process revealed concerns about determining historical authenticity, supporting the revitalized historic district of College Hill, and preventing the park from becoming a haven for undesirable people and activities. Since its opening, the park has grown into a mature green space which is an important part of the civic and cultural life of Providence. The success of this park in fulfilling the goals of its planners and continuing to provide a valued green space for residents demonstrates an achievement that has important implications for ongoing urban park building by the National Park Service.


First Advisor

Marla R Miller

Second Advisor

Ethan Carr