Indianapolis is grappling with one of its most violent years, leading citizens to ask hard questions about why such crime is growing and what we can do about it. While this crime spike has generated loud calls for a much larger police force, the city’s lean budget cannot be our only solution.
Downtown Indianapolis was recently ranked No. 1 for livability among smaller cities by Livability.com—gratifying praise after $9.3 billion of reinvestment. Recent debates and plans, however, have raised a fundamental question: Whose downtown is this?
The next legislative session is likely to feature several bills affecting “social” issues like same-sex marriage, curriculum controversies and religious activities in public schools, abortion and public prayer.
Brookings Institute researchers recently published a book called “Confronting Suburban Poverty in America” that profiles how quickly poverty is migrating from many urban centers to their surrounding suburbs. Metro-area poverty has grown fastest in the suburbs over the past 30 years—experiencing a 64-percent increase versus 29-percent growth in urban centers.
I recently participated in a planning session for downtown Indianapolis that included cultural and civic leaders whom I consider very pro-urban Indianapolis. As the conversation turned toward the urgent need to recruit more taxpayers into city neighborhoods, one of my colleagues stated that it really wasn’t practical to raise a middle class family in the city, and many others agreed.
Several recent zoning battles have revealed an opposition to change in many Indy neighborhoods that could sabotage the changes that are necessary if Indianapolis is to compete with other metro areas and even its own suburbs in coming decades.