The staff of A4 Architecture and the members of the Newport Architectural Forum were given the opportunity to see a preview of the North End Plan being conducted by NBBJ. Through a Zoom call held on Tuesday, June 30th, Principal Alan Mountjoy showed the extensive work that the team had conducted and shared the results of the charrette and online survey which helped guide the team.

Rather than designate a single solution for the entire subject area, the preliminary proposals, which still need to go through the Planning Commission for recommendation and the Newport City Council for approval, calls for a series of mini districts which will have their own character and guidelines.

The goal of the entire planning process remains the same: the delivery of the five primary goals to the community: Opportunity, Connectivity, Resiliency, Equity, and Quality.

To achieve these goals the Proposed Master Plan tries to integrate a variety of solutions and space allocations. Master Planning and Urban Design is a challenging art in that often different goals seem to pull in opposite directions, where the desire for more jobs and commercial tax revenue can conflict with a community’s desire for more parks and open space, so a successful design must achieve the right balance between competing goals.

There are still many steps in the evaluation and adoption of the North End Plan but much has been accomplished. The redevelopment and renaissance of the North End is one step closer with the creation of a master plan that better matches the Newport Comprehensive Plan and which more closely meets the needs and expectations of Newport’s citizens, particularly those of the North End.


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Ross Sinclair Cann, AIA, LEED AP, is an historian, educator, and practicing architect at A4 Architecture who lives and works in Newport, Rhode Island. He is the founding Chairman of the Newport Architectural Forum and a member of the Newport Open Space Planning Initiative.