KIB Research and Technology

Informing KIB’s mission and major strategic choices to help Indianapolis grow social, environmental, and economic good; most notably in the area of urban greening.

  • National research demonstrating the positive impact of trees

    Research published in 2002, from Dr. Frances Kuo, University of Illinois Human Health and Landscape Laboratory, revealed trees were found to be directly correlated with more sociable, less aggressive and safer communities.

    Additionally, a plethora of research also indicates the important environmental role urban trees and greenspaces play. They ably reduce stormwater runoff; they clear the air of particulate matter that impairs human health; they capture carbon and cool temperatures in cities, which have remarkable local and global effects.

    In 2005, Dr. Kathleen Wolf published research regarding business districts and trees, finding that trees and well-kept landscapes were much preferred over sparse landscapes by consumers. The research made a direct connection between general perceptions of retail locations; the quality of products within those places; and even the duration of consumer visits to those places.

  • Trees for Healthier, Stronger, Safer Neighborhoods
    Trees for Healthier, Stronger, Safer Neighborhoods

    In 2006, KIB partnered with IUPUI to map environmental and social challenges in Center Township, which has the least tree canopy of any Marion County township.

    Criteria that was “layered” included lower than average tree canopy; higher than average impervious surfaces; proximity to industrial plant locations; higher than average traffic counts; and, higher than average rates of childhood asthma. Social criteria included higher than average crime rates, and lower than average income. Six “hot spots,” neighborhoods where most or all of these criteria are met, were identified by researchers, producing very vividly, “hot spots,” where trees and greenspace are most needed.

    This was a helpful tool in developing KIB’s nationally recognized community forestry efforts; and, provided a useful barometer by which KIB could illustrate its vigorous tree planting/maintenance efforts on the Near Eastside.

    Click here to read about updates to KIB Community Forestry Research.

  • KIB Data Collection
    KIB Data Collection

    KIB collects data about trees we plant using a custom built database, handheld Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers and Geographic Information System (GIS) software.

    By collecting information about the trees we plant, we are able to:

    • Perform maintenance on the trees,
    • Be accountable to stakeholders,
    • Preserve Institutional memory,
    • Share data with researchers in order to answer questions about our trees and their impact.

    For instance: On March 25, 2006 a yellowwood tree was planted on 16th Street in Indianapolis. This was one of 49 trees to be planted in the Little Flower neighborhood on that day, and one of the first trees to be recorded in Keep Indianapolis Beautiful’s GIS system.

    Collecting accurate data today is an investment in our future knowledge. We often find ourselves using data to help answer questions we had not thought to ask when the data was originally collected.

  • Biodiversity Restoration

    In 2008, KIB restored 11 acres of interstate right of way to native habitat, and entered into a multi-year partnership with Butler University’s Center for Urban Ecology to understand the impacts on insect counts and diversity. This research continues, but early indications are that the native restoration is increasing the number and diversity of insect species, which are fundamental to the broader matter of ensuring a biodiverse environment.