The connection between landscape architecture and engineering to economic development isn’t always clear. But a closer look at the above aerial view of the village center in Barrington, Rhode Island proves the link is quite obvious. The graphic indicates how many new structures (orange) and major renovations (yellow) have been implemented following the development of a cohesive streetscape design to the village center and improvements that increased pedestrian safety and connectivity.
In 1992, BETA’s landscape architecture division (then operating as Gates, Leighton & Associates) was hired to develop conceptual plans, facilitate community outreach meetings, and refine the design based on input from the Town. Before any of these initiatives could be started, GLA participated in negotiating additional funding for streetscape amenities in exchange for expanding the road and sidewalk corridor onto historic properties. The exchange became a win-win scenario since the final design provided accessibility to Town Hall and the library for individuals with disabilities.
Over the past 26 years, the initial projects have led to further improvements, both aesthetic and functional, that attract businesses and consumers to the quaint village center. The latest phase of the project, which extends the village district, is currently under construction and includes new granite curbing and sidewalks where they previously did not exist, high visibility crosswalks, new on-street parking, street trees, and improvements to the stormwater drainage system.
Barrington Village Center is now described as a “premier retail development” as well as a “destination.” Realtors promote the location as an opportunity for “maintaining a prosperous economic base,” due to its walkability and visibility. BETA is proud to have been a part of this placemaking project, which has benefitted residents and business owners and established an authentic character for the village core.