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Indianapolis VS Columbus

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Indianapolis VS Columbus

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  • #372177

    Tenzo
    Participant

    Columbus has a much more defined fashion sense.
    I went to the Kroger yeaterday afternoon. As I waitied for the deli girl to slice up my meat I looked around. I started counting the guys in cargo shorts. There were 24 guys in cargo shorts and one wearing jeans. I went up to the guy wearing jeans and asked if he was from Columbus. No, he was visiting from Cleveland.

    I bet Indy doesn’t have that kind of fashion culture.

    #372178

    groundrules
    Participant

    Indy schmindy. the important thing is we got buffalo eatin’ out of our hand.

    #372179

    KyleEzell
    Member

    arenn wrote >>
    Columbus needs desperately to strengthen its brand positioning, and you don’t do that with off the shelf solutions. Columbus has to be willing to buck the trends from time to time and really innovate and drive the urbanism agenda instead of following it. Not that you reject all best practices, but you can’t hang your hat on that alone. My $0.02.

    Ho HO! Now that Mike Brown’s at Experience Columbus… :)

    #372180

    cbuster
    Member

    arenn – that’s a really interesting comment. I’m curious – is this critique based more on discussions that you’ve read on CU (where there are lots of urban-planner types), or on actual projects that the city has implemented?

    also, when it comes to innovative projects, I can’t think of a better one than getting rid of our dams and creating the biggest linear park in the country…

    #372181

    Tenzo
    Participant

    cbuster wrote >>
    one than getting rid of our dams and creating the biggest linear park in the country…

    You might have trouble beating the ones in California, Florida, Illinois, Maine Texas…

    #372182

    groundrules
    Participant

    arenn wrote >>

    The things I see pushed here have a certain genericism about them. The are textbookish.

    you’re talking about our flag, aren’t you? don’t worry, we’re already working on textile urban revitalization.

    #372183

    cbuster
    Member

    ok, I was being a little broad in my definition. Large linear parks are not unique, obviously. But the idea of creating a 120 acre park that runs through the middle of a large city by removing low head dams is a pretty interesting (and not boilerplate) idea..

    #372184
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    arenn wrote >>
    Columbus needs desperately to strengthen its brand positioning, and you don’t do that with off the shelf solutions. Columbus has to be willing to buck the trends from time to time and really innovate and drive the urbanism agenda instead of following it. Not that you reject all best practices, but you can’t hang your hat on that alone. My $0.02.

    Agreed. I’ve often felt like many of our plans are just re-adapted copies of what other cities have already done. Not that it’s a bad thing to take something that has proven itself to work and help mitigate some of the risks of being an early-adopter with unproven ideas… but at the same time you don’t attract a whole lot of attention for coming in 5th or 6th place behind everyone else who took that early leap.

    This question of whether or not we’re being leaders or being followers was something I asked Guy Worley (CDDC), Keith Myers and Andrew Overbeck (both MSI) during interviews when discussing the 2010 Downtown Strategic Plan. Guy’s answer was that we’re being leaders with our economic stability. Keith’s answer was that we do public-private partnerships really well. Both of those answers are ok… but they’re more about methodology than they are actual projects or concepts. Andrew’s answer was the I670 Cap which is actually a first-of-its-kind project that I would hang my hat on. Hopefully we’ll have 10 more of those in the next 10 years to cap the 70/71 split as well.

    #372185

    HeySquare
    Participant

    arenn wrote >>
    Columbus needs desperately to strengthen its brand positioning, and you don’t do that with off the shelf solutions. Columbus has to be willing to buck the trends from time to time and really innovate and drive the urbanism agenda instead of following it. Not that you reject all best practices, but you can’t hang your hat on that alone. My $0.02.

    This is a provocative quote, because I don’t think anyone really disagrees with the identification of the problem, but defining the actions needed to “innovate and drive the urbanism agenda” is the question that the strategic plans seek to answer. What is the innovative “it”?
    -Is it the big event?… Ameriflora? perhaps not. SXSW? seems to be working for Austin.
    -Is it (in the immortal words of Lewis Black) “the big f—— thing”? The “thing” that everyone comes to see. The Statue of Liberty seems to work for New York. The Hollywood sign for LA.
    -Is it leisure activities? White water rafting in West Virginia, skiing in Colorado. Golf seems to be working for South Carolina. Even Sandusky has Cedar Point and all the roller coasters. There is food and wine for the Napa Valley.
    -Is it design or physical environment? Charleston has its historic district, as do Savanah and New Oreleans.
    -Is it spectacle? Like Las Vegas. Or Branson.

    I think that many people agree that Columbus is a kind of “tabula rasa” when it comes to brand position, and there have been other discussions on Columbus Underground about how there isn’t much of a market identity for the city. To me, it isn’t so much about creating something new, as it is about assembling the pieces that we have into coherent nodes, and amping up the existing strengths.

    #372186

    Columbusite
    Member

    arenn wrote >>
    It’s interesting the take on this blog since the original poster is more positive on Columbus. I think Greg’s take more or less sums it up accurately. The downtown proper of Indianapolis is better, but their surrounding urban core is far weaker than Columbus.

    My outsider’s critique of Columbus would be that it has perhaps embraced the “urbanist narrative” too completely. In short, maybe many people in Columbus “get it” a little too much. The things I see pushed here have a certain genericism about them. The are textbookish.
    Columbus needs desperately to strengthen its brand positioning, and you don’t do that with off the shelf solutions. Columbus has to be willing to buck the trends from time to time and really innovate and drive the urbanism agenda instead of following it. Not that you reject all best practices, but you can’t hang your hat on that alone. My $0.02.

    I’d be curious to hear a comparison on our urban hoods from someone who has visited them: Broad Ripple vs. Short North, Kessler-Meridian & Butler Trakington vs. Clitonville & German Village, Irvington vs. Bexley. Of course, some probably aren’t the best to compare to each other, since there are others which are more appropriate to compare.

    As far as “getting it”, I get the impression that we see that much more in involved residents vs. city leaders who drag their feet on everything. I don’t think the problem is that our implementation of good urbanism is too textbook, but rather that it’s just way too small scale and too slow. They’ll point to Gay Street in our Downtown as a shining example of a dead one-way converted back into a calmed, two-way street for people, bikes, and cars that’s successful, which it is. Yet it’s almost three years later and not a peep on doing the exact same thing for other languishing one-way retail streets Downtown. I’ll be well into my 30s before I see them “get it” here.

    City leaders here like to pat themselves on the back for taking a baby step no matter what it is and then stopping right there. Even in the case of Gay St it was only converted two-way due to pressure from the developer of a nearby large-scale residential infill project (Neighborhood Launch[/url]). Ditto for The Annex development on Front, which is now two-way south of Broad as a result. The city didn’t know to preemptively convert these high-speed multi-lane one-ways until told to do so. Those of us who are more urban savvy know that people buying a condo Downtown, especially when they’re moving from the suburbs, aren’t going to want to walk out their front door straight into a bunch of loud, fast traffic. If it were up to us we would already have the rest of our one-ways converted and would be enjoying a much more vibrant Downtown today, not ten years from now.

    If we had gone all out to improve Downtown and heavily focus on other up-and-coming neighborhoods we would have a lot more to offer for our relatively small size as a large city, which would make it much easier to get people talking about this city who don’t live here.

    #372187

    arenn
    Participant

    When it comes to ideas to strengthen Columbus’ competitive distinctiveness, I might suggest the city hire me to develop some with them. I’m confident I could work with them to do so. (A new city flag would actually be low on the list).

    While I do think you need to be known for something, I also don’t believe in the “one big thing” approach to economic development.

    I’ll probably make everyone in Indy mad, but I don’t think Indy has any great urban neighborhoods. Not even one. The Meridian-Kessler area isn’t bad. (If you took Meridian-Kessler and Butler-Tarkington and put them together, made them their own town with their own schools, i.e., not in the city school district, you’d have……Bexley). Irvington is ok. And Indy doesn’t even have good inner ring type suburbs. Indy’s got many wonderful things, but its urban neighborhoods aren’t one of them. Indy really doesn’t even have the concept of neighborhood to some degree. The whole 36 sq. mi. Center Township area is basically thought of as “downtown” and what their people call neighborhoods are often just gussied up block clubs that cover a very small area, often only 2-3 blocks.

    Indy is like the city that shouldn’t work but does. One reason is that they have innovated. Indy was an early city-county consolidation adopter. Indy embraced sports events hosting in the 1970’s before it was the thing to do and more or less invented the model – the Indiana Sports Corp. was the first of its kind. Indy built a domed stadium without a team – in 1983 – and poached the Colts as another very early sports relocation. (Only the Al Davis Raiders move was sooner, and it was to a bigger market, not a smaller one). They figured out that to secure their leadership position, they needed to lure the sanctioning bodies to town, so they brought in the NCAA, USA Track and Field, USA Rowing, etc. Now Indy is guaranteed Final Fours and much more every few years. Indy more or less did the Arena District right – theirs is called the Wholesale District – about 15-20 years before Columbus figured it out the model. They built the first retro-style basketball arena in the nation – which is still rated the top facility in the nation ever year. Today Indy is building an 8 mile urban cycling/pedestrian trail in former auto lanes called the Cultural Trail that is a totally unique in America. I just wrote on my blog about the things that are going on in Carmel, Indiana:

    Next American Suburb: Carmel, Indiana

    I won’t claim everything Indy is innovative, but they’ve done a lot. I would also say that in the last decade they’ve largely been resting on their laurels. The core city – which is to say all of Marion County – is facing huge challenges and it is not outside the realm of possibility Indy could face a major collapse:

    Indy: Could Marion County Implode?

    That’s long but the first third of it will give you the gist – plus maybe some thoughts for Columbus in there too.

    #372188

    groundrules
    Participant

    arenn wrote >>
    When it comes to ideas to strengthen Columbus’ competitive distinctiveness, I might suggest the city hire me to develop some with them. I’m confident I could work with them to do so. (A new city flag would actually be low on the list).

    agenda revealed. internet jokes however…still under wraps.

    #372189

    Having lived in Columbus nearly all of my life…but having taken at least 7 trips to Indianapolis– some thoughts:

    – Indianapolis’ downtown definitely makes more of an outright impression than Columbus’ does. There’s really no comparison. What’s funny is that I remember going through there very early 90s, and thinking how much of a ghost town it was. At that time Columbus probably had a more dynamic downtown. Indy has made a big push and outwardly at least, it’s paid off.

    – Indianapolis has more of a hick element than Columbus does. You don’t see this downtown so much, but if you go to the fairgrounds + race track areas it’ll really smack you in the face.

    – Their downtown mall, Circle Centre, is the same kind of build City Center was (same developer too I believe), and yet Indy managed to make it work. It’s thriving in fact. The reason for this is obvious: they built AROUND it and did not make it stand on its own. Lots of street-level restaurants and complementary retail. And just a few blocks down is the stadium, convention center, etc– so it’s all very convenient. So, for those who parrot the fashionable line that City Center was a “doomed bunker”, Indy’s doomed bunker is doing quite well. What doomed City Center was the inertia of powers that be in trying to develop around it, not the architecture itself.

    – I have friends in Indy involved with the music scene and they complain about the dearth of live music venues there. When I first heard this, I thought, “well, that’s the midwest in general”, but then after spending some more time there, I saw they sure weren’t kidding. Very few choices for live music there. Columbus’ venue scene is not really all that hot either, but Indy seems like a desert.

    – Finally, what I’m most impressed with in Indianapolis is the Soldiers’ Monument / fountain in the middle of “Circle City”. This is a true public plaza and you will see many walks of life here congregating and enjoying the space.

    I do think Columbus and Indy are very comparable and that both cities can learn quite a good deal from each other. Anybody in Columbus who looks down at Indy does so at their peril. If there is one thing Indy has which Columbus should blatantly rip off, it’s their grand public plaza. We have nothing of the sort, and something tells me Columbus Commons will simply end up being that Arena District manicured park, Part Two.

    #372190

    Columbusite
    Member

    Speaking of the music scene, I tend to use Yelp to compare city amenities. While it’s not a perfect tool for measuring different aspects of a city for a number of reasons, I find it’s useful overall. On Yelp Columbus does boast a whole lot more than Indianapolis. We have 581 restaurants and 183 nightspots reviewed, just as an example (keep in mind that numerous dodgy dumps like those on Sullivant or in North Central are not included in that number). They have 348 and 73 respectively. We basically have the same population, but they currently have like half the options we do in numerous categories. Just recently on my blog I was comparing our vegetarian/vegan-only restaurant scene[/url] to Cleveland and Cincinnati and included Indianapolis because we get compared so often. None came close, including Indy which apparently only has one truly vegetarian restaurant, and that’s not just me saying that, but the Indianapolis Vegetarian Society. That’s not to say that what is available should just be written off. I’d still like to make a little trip over there to check out Downtown and some apparently lackluster hoods, including their own Hispanic West Side and I’m sure I’ll have a good time, but I’ll be taking it in as a visitor and not a resident. Are the few options available really that damn good to make up for the comparatively small number?

    Still, they’re about to make their downtown even more impressive with a mini-Las Ramblas treatment on Georgia St for its entire three blocks on (this streetview shows Circle Centre right off of Georgia). They’re taking a six-lane, two-way road and placing a large island sidewalk down the middle leaving one travel lane in each direction with parking against the island with curb bumpouts to prevent it from being used as a travel lane when no cars are parked. Throw in food carts and what not and it’ll be very interesting.

    Can’t say I’m thrilled about the “fully-separated” path for bikes in Carmel. There are many new turn conflicts where cars turn into the path of bikes. The roundabouts do make sense, since no one will ever run a roundabout the way they do red lights. The dense development would be more better if it were occurring in some inner-city neighborhoods vs. a large suburb, despite its urban design. Still, an urbanizing suburb is better than a typical one. We don’t really have any burbs in comparison that have done as much as Carmel, not even New Albany.

    #372191

    I remember seeing the “best of” restaurants in NUVO, Indy’s arts weekly. Those are always revealing as per the depth and breadth of restaurants in a city. I recall seeing things like Benihana winning “best Japanese”, PF Changs winning “best Chinese”, CheeseCake Factory winning “best desserts”…you get the drift. Of course, some of those results occur here too, but the Indy best-ofs read like a roll call of national chains.

    If you haven’t been to Indianapolis in a while, it’s definitely worth a visit and you will probably be surprised by how much the downtown has grown and come into its own. As per the critique that downtown Indy is all chain restaurants and stores….I would gladly take that here in downtown Columbus. At least it’s SOMETHING which will pull people downtown.

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