September 03 2013

Cultural Districts Offer a Unique Way to Brand Indianapolis Neighborhoods

Indianapolis, Indiana is home to six different cultural districts, which all offer a different scene to residents and visitors. Each district is a neighborhood that has been branded by the buildings, physical features, and businesses that reside in them. Five of these reside in the core downtown area: The Canal and White River State Park, Indiana Avenue, The Wholesale District, Massachusetts Avenue, and Fountain Square. These five downtown districts are connected through the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, and the sixth district, Broad Ripple, is connected to downtown districts through the Monon Trail. Each district is outfitted with its own logo, which can be seen in storefront windows or outside on street signs.

Cultural Districts

Community branding can be very powerful. It gives neighborhoods a sense of place and establishes them as destinations within the community. But simply slapping a logo onto a street sign or sidewalk does not accomplish this task. The goal is to give a certain area a unique feeling and atmosphere that people cannot receive from any other place in that city. It’s not just a marketing scheme, but also a culture and way of life. This was done very effectively in Indianapolis because designers took the strengths of six great areas and developed them into six individual identities.

Indianapolis Canal Walk

Canal District

Together, all six districts provide a good mix of exciting and enjoyable activities for people of all ages. Many of the districts cater well to nightlight and entertainment with bars, restaurants, theatres, and music venues. More specifically, Broad Ripple and Mass Ave are known for their nightlife. Fountain Square has an artsy vibe and gives a contemporary sort of feeling with local art shows and small, quirky shops. The Canal and White River State Park is filled with natural elements and aesthetically pleasing paths along the canal and through the White River State Park. Many festivals take place on Indiana Avenue, which is rich with historic African American tradition and heritage. The Wholesale District is at the heart of it all, with Monument Circle, Circle Centre Mall, and Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium - part of Indianapolis’ pro sports scene.

How do modern-day community branding practices create value within your city?

Credits: Images by and Laura Granieri. Data linked to sources.

Laura Granieri

Laura Granieri graduated from Ball State University in the spring of 2012 with a Bachelor in Urban & Regional Planning. Upon graduating, she moved to Indianapolis and accepted a position as an AmeriCorps VISTA. She currently works as Program Coordinator at Midtown Indianapolis, Inc. Laura is passionate about urban planning and the relationship between people and the cities in which they live. In her free time, she enjoys attending events around downtown Indy. For The Grid, Laura will be writing about the exciting changes happening in Indianapolis as the city focuses on redevelopment projects, a new transportation system, and a downtown comprehensive plan.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 at 9:29 am and is filed under Branding, Community/Economic Development, Social/Demographics, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


2 Responses to “Cultural Districts Offer a Unique Way to Brand Indianapolis Neighborhoods”

  1. The Remarkable Success of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail | Says:

    […] In the past year, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail has received attention and support from both native Hoosiers and people across the country. Cities such as Portland, Oregon and Cleveland, Ohio have voiced their support (and jealousy) of the eight-mile bike path that connects five of the six Indianapolis Cultural Districts. […]

  2. Laura Granieri | The GRID Blog Archive Says:

    […] Cultural Districts Offer a Unique Way to Brand Indianapolis Neighborhoods […]

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