Xinyi Yue


Converting a forgotten alley into Providence’s second arcade

This thesis aims to explore the potential of activating abandoned streets in cities lacking a sense of community by examining established street cultures and assessing the possibility of transforming small, neglected areas into vibrant public spaces. Street life is an extension of private life in some countries and regions, where residents socialize, observe each other, and walk in the streets, contributing to a sense of connection throughout society. This research focuses on the example of Providence, a medium-sized city in the United States, as a setting for reviving arcade culture and transforming unused alleys into lively public spaces. By investigating the role of street culture in shaping urban communities, this thesis argues for the importance of activating forgotten spaces to foster a sense of connection and revitalization in urban areas. 

I enjoy walking downtown in Providence, taking in the streets and buildings around me. On Clemence Street, however, I notice a lack of pedestrian activity. The buildings along both sides of the street appear closed, lacking open doors or windows facing the area. Interestingly, the map reveals that this alley serves as a connection between two significant city landmarks: the convention center and the performing arts center.


Downtown Providence

During my research on mapping, I discovered that the lane is situated adjacent to a motorway, providing convenient visibility for those exiting the highway. Despite its advantageous location, the alley has been neglected due to historical or urban planning considerations. Recognizing its potential, I made the decision to revitalize this forgotten space and encourage greater community engagement, thereby enhancing the participation of city residents in public life.


Circulation Analysis

The diagram illustrates the harmonious integration of the arcade within its surroundings and the urban landscape. It serves as a seamless connection between two significant anchor points, all the while ensuring smooth traffic flow remains undisturbed. Simultaneously, the arcade acts as a compelling attraction, drawing people from the surrounding vicinity to this vibrant area.



This section demonstrates the seamless connection between the interior of a block and the adjacent arcade, featuring a coffee shop on the left and a fashion boutique on the right. The height of the arcade's glass roof has been thoughtfully designed to preserve the unobstructed view from the first-floor windows. Moreover, drainage pipes have been strategically placed on both sides of the roof, ensuring efficient rainwater flow to the ground, even during precipitation.



My intention was to create a predominantly recreational atmosphere for the business area. To achieve this, I positioned a public library adjacent to the coffee shop on the left. The library features shelves filled with books that visitors can browse through, fostering an inviting and intellectually stimulating environment. On the right side, there is a bench outside the charming candy shop's showcase, providing a cozy spot for people to take a rest and enjoy their surroundings.



To address the frequent rain in Providence, I have incorporated landscaping on both sides of the walls. This allows rainwater to naturally flow down from the roof and through the conduits into the planters integrated into the walls. Additionally, on the left side, there is an open space thoughtfully designed for children to engage in play. The extensive use of transparent glass throughout the facade enhances the overall transparency and fluidity of the space, creating a more welcoming and connected environment.




RISD Grad ShowRISD Grad Show

Attach a Drupal Library