When the story of a place aligns with someone’s worldview, there is interest. A worldview is like a tuning fork when it hits something of the same frequency, it resonates. Unsung Indy is a pilot initiative led by the Indiana Association for Community Economic Development (IACED) and funded by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to establish a resonance between potential urban dwellers with Indianapolis’ “unsung” neighborhoods.
Indianapolis is a city of neighborhoods. The objective of Unsung Indy is to tell the story of neighborhoods outside of the downtown mile square which make up the city’s rich diversity. Realtors, small developers, and neighborhood-based community development corporations (CDCs) have marketed individual properties in urban neighborhoods with their limited budgets and time frames. However, there has been little unified effort to promote the quality of life benefits of buying a home in an urban neighborhood in anything like the manner utilized every day by large suburban developers. In response to the challenge of attracting more home buyers to neglected urban neighborhoods, the Unsung Indy campaign is a colorful and unified effort to share the stories of these “unsung” communities and promote the quality of life benefits of living and visiting these unique places.
Neighborhoods selected for the pilot initiative are:
- West Indianapolis
- Watson McCord
- Ransom Place
- Holy Cross
A secondary aim of the Unsung Indy campaign is to promote the positive aspects of urban living, including but not limited to walkability, diversity and cultural experiences, architectural interest, tightly knit and engaged communities, active lifestyles, rich cultural life, and investment potential.
Such benefits of re-embracing urban living are well documented: better mass transit systems, better educational districts, and more successful law enforcement agencies funded by a deeper tax base. And communities can become stronger, more productive, and more caring through the physical closeness of shared spaces. One recent study by University of Utah researchers found that people who live in urban, walkable neighborhoods are at a lower risk for becoming overweight or obese. The study, published September 2008, found that urban neighborhoods built before 1950 tended to offer greater overall walkability because they were designed for pedestrian use. Newer neighborhoods often were designed to facilitate car travel, the researchers noted.
Finally, Unsung Indy is the first phase of a strategic plan to help the city’s urban communities compete with suburban developers for homebuyers. As a rule, urban neighborhoods don’t have access to the same marketing dollars commercial developers have to promote their various real estate ventures. Unsung Indy is an attempt to level this highly competitive playing field.
Seed money for the first phase of the Unsung Indy was provided by the Local Initiatives Support Corp.. The project is being managed by IACED. Creative materials and media placements are being produced by the three-sixty group. Selected neighborhoods will be supplied with various marketing materials designed to promote their distinct characteristics. A media strategy to promote the Unsung Indy initiative to the general public and build awareness at the neighborhood level is also planned. As resources permit, more unsung Indianapolis neighborhoods will be given an opportunity to share their stories.
Visit the Unsung Indy web site at http://www.unsungindy.org/