Indianapolis

Traveled to Indianapolis last weekend to visit Jin. We went to the Children's Museum on Saturday, and then walked around downtown a lot on Sunday. Of course, I could not have left my camera on the kitchen counter at home any more than I did, so, no pictures.

The one thing I have to say about Indianapolis, and downtown in particular, is how well-planned it is. The metro government oversees the entire county which is the city itself. The war memorial in the city center sits exactly in the middle between the east and west borders of the city, and sits exactly in the middle of the north and south borders.

We walked along the canal, a completely fabricated waterway that curves around from the northern edge of downtown to the southern edge. If you follow it, it will take you past a central museum district, past the state capitol, and end up close to the Artsgarden, an glass-enclosed greenspace sitting above an intersection. The Artsgarden is part of a skywalk system that allows you to walk from any number of hotels to shopping, the convention center, and the RCA dome all without feet hitting the pavement. Personally, I don't believe skywalks are a good idea, but it seems to work there.

Everything in the center of the downtown, and less so the further away from it, seems like it was deliberately built to get you to stay put.

Now, Indianapolis will not deny the fact that it was planned from day one. Which makes comparing it to Cincinnati a bit unfair. Cincinnati, like other east coast cities, are older, and developed more organically. Plus, Indianapolis is very flat. So Cincinnati development has faced some historical and geographical constraints that Indy has not.

Still, one gets the sense that in Indy, the metro government Gets Things Done. In Cincinnati, the city, county, port authority, quasi-private entities, and businesses just get in each other's ways.

2 comments:

The Urbanophile said...

I'd like to mention that the canal in downtown Indianapolis is not an artificial waterway. It was built as part of a massive canal public works effort in the 1800's that ultimately bankrupted the state and led to the new 1851 constitution. It just looks new because of how it has been redone. The Central Canal actually extends pretty far north in the city and is more naturalistic in places like Broad Ripple

gerard said...

Ah, thanks for the clarification. I was told that it was man-made, and I think he meant what you said, but I interpreted it to mean, made recently for biking and such.