“You’re really good with words,” a friend said to me last week. As a person who does a great deal of writing, that accolade aptly stroked my inner “word nerd” ego. Unfortunately, I admittedly stink at crosswords and Scrabble, I’ve never played Words With Friends and I don’t listen to “A Way With Words” like other word geeks I know.
Now that I’ve confessed my nerdiness, let me tell you about my favorite prefix: Re-. It’s usually used for doing something over, repeating, or giving something or someone a second chance – often to make things right.
As you can imagine, I love the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle uses of Re-. Those three have to be among the most used and most important Re- words in my lexicon, but I’m also fond of a couple Re- words being used abundantly in Indy as of late.
I’ll be honest – talking about zoning is boring. Nevertheless, the way our city is zoned has a tremendous impact on quality of life and the types of development that are possible in our neighborhoods, streets and public places.
The City of Indianapolis recently introduced Indy Rezone, as effort for you (yes you!) to have a voice in the future development of the city. For example, do you think we should encourage development that allows for more transportation choice? Should we curb our automobile-focused infrastructure and abundance of cheap/free parking options?
Other rezoning efforts might bring retail closer to the street, encourage more mixed used development, guide more energy efficient investment and foster the incorporation of more sustainable design principles.
The key to the success of Indy Rezone is your involvement – find out how.
The next Re- word focuses on water (Something we haven’t seen much of for the last 45-60 days or so). Visit most major cities around the world and you’ll find they are connected to water. Whether it’s a river, lake or an ocean, waterways are a tremendous asset for any urban setting.
Unfortunately some of Indy's waterways have been ignored or treated like garbage cans for decades.
There is a relatively new initiative called Reconnecting to Our Waterways (ROW). In other words, Indy isn’t very connected to its many waterways and this effort is intended to embrace the flowing waters that weave Indianapolis’ neighborhoods together. The major ones are the White River, Central Canal, Fall Creek, Eagle Creek, Pogue’s Run and Pleasant Run.
As is the case with Indy Rezone, you’re encouraged to get involved. In fact, you can share and vote on ideas about how Indy can reconnect to its waterways through August 1.
I hear this one a lot and it’s really what ROW and Indy Rezone are all about. They are game-changing endeavors to invigorate neighborhoods to become sough-after places to live, hubs for economic activity, and an enclave for creativity.
At one time or another, Indy’s many neighborhoods had a different life. Some have continued to flourish while others have become downtrodden, forgotten or worn down.
Revitalization attempts to map out a new course for these places. We’ve just witnessed the fruits of revitalization on the Near Eastside leading up to the Super Bowl. What’s going to happen next? As the editors of The Indianapolis Star recently admonished, we can’t wait for the next “big game” to move our city forward.
It’s time to get busy and reinvent Indy. Many of our civic leaders have been offering direction for decades. Where will we go next? You decide.
Ryan Puckett is principal of two21 LLC, a communication firm with a focus on providing creative content, advocacy and communications strategy for all things pertaining to sustainability. Ryan is an Indiana University-Bloomington grad and alum of Northwestern University’s School of Journalism. He lives in Broad Ripple with his wife, son and dog, is a veteran of 160+ Phish shows and is a long-suffering Cubs fan. Contact Ryan at email@example.com or on Twitter @rmpuckett.