Learning from Columbus, Indiana

What can the rest of Indiana learn from Columbus? From an article in the Star Press of Muncie:

The American Institute of Architects ranks Columbus as the sixth city in the nation for architectural innovation and design? (The ones listed 1-5 are: Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.)

and this:

What every comprehensive planning and design exercise that has guided the development of Columbus — from its civic buildings, to its health and senior care facilities, to its commercial and retail facilities, to its streetscape and public art for the last 40 years has contained physical design guidelines and the drawings and models to communicate their recommendations.These provide everyone with a vision of what might be. They serve as “talk pieces” to foster public discussion, debate and consensus building. More important, paraphrasing the great architect and planner, Daniel Burnham, who said about his plan for Chicago, “They need to stir men’s soul.” I might add, “women, children, investors, developers and retirees.”

Read the whole article here.


  1. My wife and I wen to Columbus for our anniversary. If you have not been it is worth the drive. The downtown is intriguing and there is a good amount to do in the town as a whole. We walked and biked around downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods without any problems and could easily walk to restaurants and bars from our hotel. I loved that Columbus thought urban and intentional in their design even though they are a small town. When my wife and I were in Columbus they were still constructive the parking garage and playground and I personally would love to see what that additional of the new downtown buildings does for the community.

    On aspect that I didn’t find favorable – it is perhaps because Columbus is a tourist city – was the absence of new residential neighborhoods near downtown. There definitely were neighborhoods, but the new residential developments were on the outskirts of the city. Because of this, many of the newer businesses were far away from downtown (relative to the small size of Columbus) as well.

    As the article suggested, I believe the fact Columbus has a plan they are striving for gives them a great advantage. They have a trajectory, can set a budget and can dream big. Also, it allows them to remain concentrated on the tasks at hand. They have committed to making downtown enjoyable and it seems that do not get diverted by the possibility of other sporadic developments.


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