As Project Manager for the Love Indy portion of Plan 2020, I think of ways to get people to love their city more. It's a great job mostly because I've already been doing this for years on a personal level. Plan 2020 recently launched MindMixer -- a community engagement platform on which people can talk to others about what they want for this city. Indy residents can list ideas and hopes for their town, as well as their complaints about it and suggestions for improving its failings. Then we at Love Indy respond. One of the things I often hear is that there's nothing to do in town, not enough arts and culture. Granted, I hear it less often now than I did five or so years ago, but those rants are still out there.
I've learned through my work at The Hall (Plan 2020's headquarters) that there is plenty to do here, and we have loads of arts and cultural offerings. The problem has been access to that information – getting the word out to people about what's going on and how they can partake of it. MindMixer should help with this. With it, we can focus less on the actual offerings and more on broadcasting and informing people about the access to them. Sometimes our information comes in silos. It's like you know a lot about the arts and nothing about youth activities, or you know a lot about the goings on in sports but nothing about the arts. I think our goals have to be t change that and find ways to bridge those gaps.
A recent national survey conducted by the website Property Shark ranked Indianapolis second in the nation for number of cultural attractions. (High five, Indy!) The survey measured the number of stadiums, parks, theaters, libraries and museums in cities across the country and then ranked them based on the amount of cultural attractions per resident. Indianapolis has 1,184 cultural attractions for every 705 residents. This is second only to Seattle. That's pretty impressive, folks.
It starts with understanding that Indianapolis suffers from a branding issue, not a product problem. As the survey shows, we have plenty of things to see and do, they just aren't always accessible to everyone.
As with most less-than-ideal situations, recognizing the problem is the first step to figuring out the solution. We need to research how people currently get info, and identify gaps where people aren't being informed about goings on.
Some of these questions are being addressed by MindMixer. Its goal is to connect Indy's civic challenges with community problem solvers. The site allows Indy residents to generate ideas, evaluate comments from their neighbors and measure the impact of our community's collective contributions.
Here are some of the questions that seek to improve the vitality of Indy's cultural offerings and understand how to bolster the Indy brand. Where do you get information about fun things to do in Indianapolis? What significant cultural attractions, not currently accessible by a trail, should be connected to the Greenways System? What specific places in Indianapolis would benefit from simple beautification tactics, like a row of flowers?
One commenter mentioned a Greenways connection from the Children's Museum to the IMA. Sounds like a good suggestion to me.
Be a part of the process by lending your voice and ideas at the Mindmixer. There's also an area on the site where we're attempting to create a photo mosaic of the reasons people love our city. We need to honor and recognize the great things already happening in Indy. I encourage you to submit your image that illustrates your love for the Circle City. Be a positive part of the solution. #LoveIndy