As a part of the National Road, East Washington Street served as a founding element in the history and development of Indianapolis. Today, East Washington Street has received renewed attention with the development of a new interchange downtown with Interstate 65 as well as through the Great Indy Neighborhoods Initiative (GINI) planning process.

Washington Street is unique in that it is the “seam” that ties two GINI neighborhoods, the Near Eastside and the Southeast Neighborhoods, together. Too often in Indianapolis, major streets define the boundaries of neighborhoods. East Washington Street can become the backbone “Main Street” where neighborhoods can come together through more sustainable, pedestrian-oriented and transit-supportive development as envisioned through the GINI process.

Ball State’s College of Architecture and Planning: Indianapolis Center has had previous relationships with the corridor, including work on the Irvington Neighborhood Plan with the City of Indianapolis just to the east of the proposed study area as well as through a planning charrette on the corridor and general process assistance for the entire neighborhood in 2007 as part of the Near Eastside GINI program.

Ball State’s new master of urban design program, a post-professional degree program, seeks to conduct a yearlong comprehensive urban design study of the East Washington Street corridor and work in a community-based fashion to develop actionable, long-term strategies for the renewal of this vital corridor, including issues that include:

  • brownfield and gray field reclamation
  • infill housing and mixed-use 
  • historic preservation and adaptive reuse 
  • transit-oriented and pedestrian planning and ROW design 
  • economic development strategies 
  • crime prevention through environmental design strategies 
  • storm water management and water quality best management practices (BMPs) 
  • sustainable strategies “accounting”--measuring benefits of sustainable and carbon reduction strategies 
  • other issues identified by the community

The outcome will be an unparalleled set of bold stories for transforming a challenged signature corridor back into a vibrant, world-class address.