Archive for February, 2011

Ball State’s Indianapolis Center

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My interests in cities led me to enroll in Ball State University’s Master of Urban Design (MUD) program at their Indianapolis Center (CAP:IC).  Urban design focuses on the public areas of our cities, including parks, plazas, transportation, and zoning/land use policy.  The MUD program and CAP:IC are part of an effort to bring new ideas about planning, design, and theory to Indiana’s capital.  The long-term mission of the center is “be a catalyst for recovering and redefining the experience of urban places.”

The CAP:IC Storefront Studios

The CAP:IC Storefront Studios

The purpose of the MUD degree is to integrate knowledge from the fields of urban planning, landscape architecture, community advocacy, and real estate development into a single curriculum.  While I am an engineer by profession, current and past students have come from all kinds of backgrounds related to urban design.  A good illustration of this interdisciplinary effort is our recent participation in the ULI’s design competition where I worked in a group of 5 graduate students, including 2 urban designers, an architect, an MBA student, and a landscape architect.

Interdisciplinary design meeting (with coffee)

One of the goals of the Indianapolis Center is to become a trusted resource for Indy’s urban design questions.  You may never have heard of CAP:IC, but the people here have helped facilitate important initiatives including:

  • Indianapolis Regional Center Guidelines
  • Great Indy Neighborhoods
  • Historic Irvington Neighborhood Plan
  • Speedway Speedzone plan
  • workshops, charrettes, and other community actions

In our studio work, my classmates and I are focusing on the next big plan for West Washington Street.  The corridor is active and full of opportunity, and our job is to suggest a vision to the community of how it could develop over the next 30 years with the right mix of policies, investments, and infrastructure plans.  I guarantee that when the final projects are submitted this summer, there will be many entertaining and educational concepts presented.

The students and professors are hard at work finding solutions

The center is located at Meridian & Maryland, just down the street from Monument Circle.  Basic information on the program can be found at the school website, and the work of previous students can be found online at Indianapolis 2.0.  So far it has been a great experience and I look forward to each new project.