City of Indianapolis, IN hosts workshop to inform Plan 2020: The Bicentennial Plan for Indianapolis

A scene on Indianapolis’ Cultural Trail. Photo via

The City of Indianapolis is embarking on Plan 2020: The Bicentennial Plan for Indianapolis, an unprecedented initiative to update and integrate the City’s core planning documents. To complement this effort, Indianapolis officials and local residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on June 11 and 12, 2014 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshop focused on how shifting development patterns towards more compact, transit-oriented development could benefit the local economy and local government finances, both of which are important components of Plan 2020.

“Plan 2020 provides the community an opportunity to think about what our city will be in the next century,” said Brad Beaubien, Planning Administrator for the City’s Department of Metropolitan Development. “An increasingly global economy is changing demographics, preferences, and opportunity. We must develop our places, our institutions, and our people to compete on this new playing field. Smart Growth America’s assistance helps us learn from national thought leaders on the future of American cities.”

On the first day of the workshop, Indianapolis residents gathered for an introductory presentation that featured a broad overview of the fiscal and economic benefits associated with compact development patterns. The workshop’s second day brought together local government professional staff and representatives from the real estate community and non-profit community to discuss how these smart growth approaches could make the municipality more competitive and reduce taxpayer burdens. The session included additional presentations and a facilitated brainstorming session.

In January 2014, Indianapolis was one of 18 communities selected by Smart Growth America to participate in the free technical assistance program. Stretching from New Hampshire to California, these communities represent major cities, suburban centers, and rural towns alike.

The program, made possible through a five-year Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities, seeks to develop local planning solutions that help communities grow in ways that benefit families and businesses, while protecting the environment and preserving a sense of place. Three other nonprofit organizations—Forterra, Global Green USA and Project for Public Spaces—also received competitively awarded grants under this program to help communities get the kinds of development they want.

Workshop Materials:

Technical assistance