Topic: College of Architecture and Planning

September 17, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — Ball State University’s new Center for Civic Design (CCD) helps Indianapolis neighborhoods and other communities envision possibilities.

The center opened this Fall in Ball State CAP: INDY, 25 North Pine Street on the former Angie’s List campus, now known as Elevator Hill. An outreach and engagement arm of the R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning (CAP), the center provides design, planning, and visioning support to neighborhoods, community organizations, and civic leaders in the Indianapolis area, communities throughout the state, and occasionally overseas. Many projects involve collaboration among CAP students, faculty, and fellows and local communities.

Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns said the new center reflects the University’s commitment to serving its neighbors, near and far.

“Ball State’s Center for Civic Design mutually benefits our University and our neighbors, including the city of Indianapolis,” he said. “Our students receive an excellent education and serve their neighbors in an urban environment. Our partners have access to the expertise and resources of one of the largest and most comprehensive environmental design colleges in the country.”

Leaders at CCD are working with several Indianapolis neighborhoods, including the Community Alliance of the Far Eastside. CCD leader are collaborating with Far Eastside to develop formal designs and produce 3D renderings and animations of a large community space at 38th Street and Post Road. Neighborhood leaders plan to use the area for social gathering, skill building, and outreach. 

Other CCD projects include:

  • Partnering with Steadfast Indiana, an organization to help provide homes for veterans in need, to redevelop an abandoned mobile home park in Indianapolis into an attractive and affordable community for veterans.
  • Teaching civic design to city leaders across the state through the Indiana Communities Institute’s Community Development course.
  • Working with the Indiana Communities Institute to host and provide civic design expertise on new Main Street programs underway in communities throughout the state. In the program, CAP students work with communities to help them envision what their “Main Street” should be.
  • Partnering with Schmidt Associates and the Purdue University College of Engineering on a master plan for the two-acre site of the Tumaini Innovation Center in Eldoret, Kenya, which teaches vocational skills to youth living on the streets of Kenya.

CAP Dean Dave Ferguson noted the college has provided expertise of faculty and students to Indiana communities since its founding in 1965.

“CAP has a rich history of community-based outreach activities,” he said. “Ball State’s Center for Civic Design is an expansion of CAP’s existing community engagement with the city of Indianapolis, its neighborhoods, and beyond. This innovative center fosters collaboration among academics, professional practitioners, municipal leaders, and communities.”

In August, Ball State CAP: INDY moved to the former Angie’s List campus on the Washington Street corridor. With 5,000 square feet, the new location offers the space, technology, and configuration Ball State CAP: INDY needs for students in the master of architecture and master of urban design programs. In the future, CAP, in partnership with other Ball State colleges, may provide additional academic opportunities for students. Ball State CAP: INDY also hosts meetings and events for professional partners.

Ball State CAP: INDY is the only Indianapolis-based higher education initiative focused on the comprehensive planning, design, and building of cities, towns, neighborhoods, and places, Ferguson said. No other organization is doing this kind of work in the state’s capital.

CAP’s programs include a full range of disciplines — the planning of cities, interior design, landscape architecture, historic preservation, urban design, architecture, and construction management.