June 23rd, 2021
A recent visit to Columbus, Ohio, validated what I’ve been speculating—that Columbus has vaulted past us in terms of downtown vitality and refinement.
Though I have lived in Indy for about half my life, I grew up in Columbus and I’ve seen the changes in both cities, particularly as they matured over the last 30 years.
I used to say that Indy had a stronger downtown and that Columbus had many robust historic urban neighborhoods; together they would make one great city. Now, in my observation, Columbus has made up the gap in its downtown while making its neighborhoods even stronger.
A few other projects stand out: the Arena District and South Campus Gateway (just Gateway today), both of which are significant catalysts for their neighborhoods. Likely more serendipity than strategy, they also touched off a chain reaction throughout the two-mile corridor between them, bringing a varied mix of housing types in a wide range of attainability levels, improved walkability and public realm and renewed civic amenities like a new public library that anchors a prime “main street” location.