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Smart Growth

Greening America's Capitals - Indianapolis, IN

The city of Indianapolis created a Green Civic District in the southeastern portion of downtown. In 2012, the city applied to EPA's Greening America’s Capitals Program for assistance to focus on redesigning two plazas that will both be important open spaces in the district: the City-County Building Plaza and the City Market East Plaza. Both plazas are currently underused but have the potential to be models of green design for visitors, employees, and residents.

The city of Indianapolis wanted the redesign of the two plazas to achieve multiple goals:

  • Be flexible, yet support year-round activities, including social gatherings and recreation.
  • Improve bike and pedestrian connections to the rest of the downtown and proposed adjacent developments.
  • Feature sustainable design and green infrastructure features that can be a model for the rest of the city and help earn LEED certification for the City-County Building.

EPA hired a design team that assessed site conditions and led a workshop that gathered input from city staff, stakeholders, and the community at large. The workshop solidified a vision for each plaza that included the desire for more green space, increased activity, simplified circulation paths and better integration with the Cultural Trail.

The design concept for each plaza reorganizes the space to create direct walking paths and accessible green spaces while integrating spaces for activity and events, amenities for bicycle and transit riders, and increased plantings. City staff and key stakeholders also worked with the design team to formulate short-, mid-, and long-term strategies for funding and implementation.

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