Topics: College of Architecture and Planning, Indianapolis Center

February 25, 2010

Ball State has played a lead role in promoting the Indianapolis Smart Growth Renewal District, which has been selected as one of five sites in the nation for a pilot program sponsored by the Office of Sustainable Communities. The office is a new collaboration of the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development and federal Department of Transportation.

Educators from the College of Architecture and Planning: Indianapolis Center (CAP:IC) have been working on the district with Indianapolis officials and neighborhood leaders. The initiative will coordinate federal policies and investment by the three departments to address the needs of brownfield remediation, affordable housing, transit, and economic opportunity in a comprehensive manner.

"The Sustainable Communities announcement reaffirms the important and appropriate place the college has in rallying communities, sparking ideas and pushing innovative agendas," said Brad Beaubien, CAP:IC director. "But most importantly, it demonstrates our college's commitment to engaging students in real-world opportunities."

The district, on the north side of downtown, comprises parts of the King Park and Martindale-Brightwood neighborhoods.

CAP:IC worked with Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard's administration to promote the establishment of the Smart Growth Renewal District last year with an application to the American Institute of Architects' Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) program.  The SDAT program brings a team of outside experts to communities to work on sustainability challenges.

Last fall, that effort culminated in a three-day workshop facilitated by CAP:IC in which 75 students from the College of Architecture and Planning joined the team of national experts, several dozen local design professionals and alumni, and more than 200 neighborhood stakeholders to explore a new model for sustainable neighborhood renewal.

With the federal designation, many of the ideas developed in the workshop could dramatically improve the lives of current residents by cleaning up the 36 brownfields, promoting connection to the proposed regional rapid transit system, increasing mobility options through complete streets, integrating alternative energy, integrating green building practices and bringing economic opportunity to the area.

By: Chanel Richards