Ball State, architecture professionals to examine transit investment, Indianapolis' future

Topics: College of Architecture and Planning, Indianapolis Center

February 20, 2009

Ball State's College of Architecture and Planning: Indianapolis Center (CAP:IC) is working with a team from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) on the development of a Smart Growth Redevelopment District on the north side of Indianapolis.

AIA's Sustainable Design Assessment Team initiative is a national, competitive program that brings teams of volunteer professionals – architects, urban designers, landscape architects, economists and planners – to assist decision-makers on development projects in their communities. The team selects six to eight communities annually to provide its assistance and selected this Indianapolis project based on a proposal recommended by the Indianapolis Green Commission and drafted by CAP:IC faculty.

The AIA team will be assisting the city of Indianapolis and a group of Ball State CAP faculty and students with work on a Smart Growth Redevelopment District plan centered on a proposed light rail system for Indianapolis connecting its downtown areas to its suburbs. The district will examine how transit investment can be used to create a community that is more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. The district has been proposed for an area at 22nd Street and the Monon Trail.

The concept of Smart Growth Redevelopment is a key goal of the Indianapolis Green Commission, a group of advisors appointed by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. The team advises municipal governments on how to help their cities operate more efficiently, such as revamping vacant lots, distressed neighborhoods and old industrial areas.

Ball State CAP:IC will help the AIA team create a vision plan to address these issues and a master plan to demonstrate how these visions can be implemented. They will work with neighborhood leaders, government representatives and professional leaders for conceptual plans.

"We've always had a philosophy that it's not our place to come in and provide all the answers," said Brad Beaubien, project manager for CAP:IC. "We like to partner with other organizations, provide assistance and move collaborative ideas forward that otherwise might simply sit on a shelf."

Financial support for the project includes a $15,000 sponsorship from Citizens Energy Group, with AIA covering the cost of its support team and involvement. Scott Truex, CAP:IC director, said AIA's commitment to the project translates into thousands of dollars of services and national exposure for the city of Indianapolis and Ball State.

"It helps us bring all of the players and professionals together in the same room and allow them to work creatively together in ways a typical client would never pay them to," Beaubien said.

The Ball State Indianapolis Center has numerous degree and distance education programs in many areas of study. The state's AIA chapter also is housed at the Indianapolis Center.

For more information, visit www.bsu.edu/capic.

By Alyssa Brumback

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