Registration Open for Grow Smart RI’s 2014 Power of Place Summit

PROVIDENCE, RI — The Power of Place Summit, organized by Grow Smart Rhode Island, returns to the Rhode Island Convention Center on Friday, May 23. With this year’s theme focusing on “Positioning Rhode Island for an Economic Renaissance,” the biennial statewide conference offers an opportunity to promote and celebrate successful smart growth, development, policy, and planning in the Ocean State.

Online registration is open until 12PM on May 20, after which the admission fee will increase to $175 and only phone and onsite registrations will be accepted. Register and view rates at

Established in 1998, Grow Smart RI has become the leading advocate for sustainable economic growth, revitalization, and improved quality of place in the state’s urban, suburban, and rural communities.  According to Scott Wolf, executive director of the award-winning nonprofit, attendees at the upcoming daylong forum should expect a much needed boost of morale that is timely, in the wake of a recent Gallup Poll that ranked Rhode Island lowest in the country for collective state self-esteem.

“Our Power of Place Summit is as much an educational, as it is an invigorating experience because we’re focusing on the assets and strengths that contribute to our state’s exceptional quality of place,” said Wolf, who indicated that Grow Smart RI is charged with combatting the state’s lack of confidence—an issue that he considers to be one of the biggest economic and marketing challenges facing Rhode Island.

He continued, “While our Power of Place Summit celebrates numerous indicators of progress and success that should restore some of this essential state pride, it is also designed to push for continued collaboration among state and local governments, the private sector, and citizens towards building stronger communities.”

The May 23rd Grow Smart RI Power of Place Summit runs from 8AM–5PM and offers attendees access to the following:

Keynote Address: “If Mayors Ruled the World”

International political analyst and author Dr. Benjamin Barber will discuss a new paradigm of global governance ruled by cities and the mayors that run them. Presented in partnership with the Providence Preservation Society, the thought-provokingkeynote address will explore how Rhode Island, the nation’s second most urbanized state, can more effectively empower its 39 municipalities to achieve more prosperity and resiliency.

Remarks by Governor Lincoln Chafee and Gubernatorial Candidates’ Panel Discussion

Following remarks by Governor Chafee, the five major gubernatorial candidates will share their views on how Rhode Island can better tap its full economic potential through smart growth strategies and policies in a panel discussion moderated by Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy.

Smart Growth Awards Program

During a luncheon, Grow Smart RI will celebrate and recognize outstanding leaders,projects, and plans or policies that are accelerating economic and community benefits. This year’s award recipients are:

  • Bike Newport
  • East Providence Special Waterfront Development District
  • Town of South Kingstown’s Healthy Places by Design Action Plan
  • The Meeting Room at Queen Anne Square in Newport
  • The Arcade in Providence
  • Woonsocket Middle School Complex
  • Westfield Commons and Lofts in Providence


Engaging Workshops

The summit will offer 19 informative and engaging workshops presented by respected and accomplished local and regional professionals, covering an array of smart growth topics including: the State Historic Tax Credit, urban revitalization initiatives, transportation and infrastructure funding, mass transit, housing, tourism, as well as agriculture and farmland protection.


For more information about the 2014 Power of Place Summit and agenda, visit

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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