Faculty members from the Urban Studies Program will lead bus tours of Providence, focusing on different themes: schools, street art, waterfront, urban agriculture and others. The tours, free and open to the public, begin and end on the Brown campus.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Come see Providence through the eyes of a Brown professor.

That’s the idea behind a new bus tour series hosted by the Urban Studies Program. Each of the six bus tours, free and open to the public, will take participants on a narrated ride through a section of the city. A different faculty member will take over the bus PA system each week, discussing everything from street art to architecture to urban agriculture.

Urban studies director Dietrich Neumann said that the tours are an opportunity for the public to hear how faculty apply their interests locally.

“Urban Studies is one of the University's most interdisciplinary programs,” Neumann said. “Faculty from many different areas do research that takes them to different places around the United States and the world, but they all share an interest in the past, present, and future of Providence. The Urban Studies Bus Tours will introduce some of those viewpoints to a larger public beyond the University community.”

Participating faculty all teach in the Urban Studies Program and include Robert Azar, Stefano Bloch, Kenneth Wong, Nathaniel Baum-Snow, Neumann, and Yesim Sungu-Eryilmaz.

The first tour, which is sold out but accepting waiting list requests, will take place Nov. 7; the series will continue through April. All tours begin at 3 p.m. and last approximately 90 minutes. They begin and leave from 341 Brook St. Refreshments will be served at the end of each tour in the Urban Studies building at 29 Manning Walk.

Space is limited. RSVPs can be made by email to [email protected].

Tour #1 — Friday, Nov. 7, 2014 [SOLD OUT; RSVP for waitlist]
“The Providence Waterfront”

Robert Azar, visiting associate professor of practice in urban studies, will discuss the diversity of Providence’s waterfront, from the natural areas along the Seekonk, to the relocated and revitalized rivers downtown, to the restoration efforts along the Woonasquatucket, and finally to the working waterfront of the Providence River, the subject of a 15-year long debate about land and water use.

Tour #2 — Friday, Nov. 14, 2014 [SOLD OUT; RSVP for waitlist]
“Where Street Art Lives in the Creative Capital”

Stefano Bloch, the Cogut Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Urban Studies, will show examples of street art and graffiti, both legal and illegal, examining some of the overlooked and ignored spaces, images, and practices that help give Providence the title of “The Creative Capital.”

Tour #3 — Friday, Dec. 5, 2014
[SOLD OUT; RSVP for waitlist]
“Public Schools in Providence”

Kenneth Wong, professor of education, and Holly Harriel, director of education outreach, will look at Providence’s schools from a more comprehensive perspective, as neighborhood institutions that reflect the communities’ diverse income, racial, ethnic, cultural, and governing characteristics.

Tour #4 — Friday, Feb. 20, 2015
[SOLD OUT; RSVP for waitlist]
“Neighborhood Change in Providence since the 1950s”

Nathaniel Baum-Snow, associate professor of economics, will explore the economic and demographic history of Providence’s neighborhoods over the past 50 years, including South Providence, the city’s historically Portuguese, Italian, and Irish neighborhoods, and the East Side. The tour will also consider how gentrification and the foreclosure crisis have hit different neighborhoods, including Olneyville and downtown Providence.

Tour #5 — Friday, March 6, 2015
[RESCHEDULED to Friday, May 8]
“Providence: A modern City”

Dietrich Neumann, professor of the history of art and architecture and director of urban studies, will use William Kirk’s 1909 book on Providence, A Modern City, as a reference to visit different sites of urban modernity of the past 105 years and discuss continuities and change, successes and failures.

Tour #6 — Friday, April 3, 2015
[SOLD OUT; RSVP for waitlist]
“Can Urban and Agriculture Coexist?”

Yesim Sungu-Eryilmaz, visiting lecturer in urban studies, will visit a variety of urban agriculture locations including the South Side Community Land Trust in Providence. The selected sites will highlight different land tenure models and showcase how to embed urban agriculture spatially into urban areas – both temporarily and permanently.