Equity and Inclusion in Placemaking
As an intern at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, there are so many new words to add to my vocabulary that I sometimes feel like I’m back in elementary school! One of these new words is placemaking, something that’s so central to KIB’s mission. This article from Project for Public Spaces, which I ran across in my ongoing quest for knowledge, was a helpful addition to my ever expanding brain dictionary. What really got me thinking was a sentence at the end of the article, when the author asks, “As practitioners and citizens, how do we move forward in the creation of more equitable places?” This is a question KIB has been asking since our start 40 years ago. The article points to a lack of accessible greenspace in low-income areas and poor engagement with these communities as barriers to inclusive, effective placemaking. The solution is making community members active participants in the greenspace creation process - arming them with tools to be stewards of their neighborhood’s new place after it’s finished. Programs like IPL Project Greenspace and Adopt -A -Block make greenspace accessible to communities that lack it and give ownership to neighborhood groups, thus creating a larger sense of engagement. Accessibility of greenspace around Indianapolis is also increasing through the expansion of public transportation like the Red Line which will offer transport to over 100,000 people who live within walking distance of the proposed route. With continued conversation and engagement between all stakeholders, the future of inclusive greenspace in Indianapolis looks bright!