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Op-Ed: Programming the First Priority for Keeping Public Spaces Safe
"[Providence's] Kennedy Plaza has received a lot of attention lately — most of it focused on disturbances, panhandling and bad behavior," according to a column by Cliff Wood, executive director of the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy (DPPC).
Wood shifts the focus of the conversation about the state of Kennedy Plaza, first by reminding readers of the importance of public space: "Public spaces are integral to the health and vitality of our city, and keeping them clean and safe is essential for all of its citizens."
After Wood lists the many partnerships his organization is working with to improve and maintain the parks in downtown Providence, Wood explains the importance of programming to his mission:
One of the most important principles of place-making, and one of our core beliefs at the DPPC, is that the best way to transform a space is by transforming the way people use it.
Wood's op-ed is written as a response to recent news of increased law enforcement presence in Kennedy Plaza, including a news article from early September by Amanda Milkovits. Although Woods recognizes the importance of law enforcement in keeping public spaces safe, "ultimately the best way to keep a public space free of negative activity is to fill it with positive activity."