Neighborhoods Don’t Have to Be Rich to Be Healthy and Vibrant

A Rhode Island Community Speaks to America’s Failure to Divorce Revitalization from Gentrification

When it comes to neighborhood well-being, is failure the inevitable cost of success?

In its salad days, Olneyville was home to a thriving textile industry in Providence, Rhode Island. But the looms went quiet long ago, and for much of the 20th century the neighborhood was one of the most distressed places in the state. In 1978, the Providence Planning Department found that over half of Olneyville’s houses needed “immediate attention,” were in a state of “advanced deterioration,” or were “heavily deteriorated and dilapidated.”

Today, people reach for different words when they …