Urban Times: Mixed-Use is Historical

This article is exactly the reason that Urban Times has been such a staple of this blog. It (gently) breaks up the argument that often arises when a new project is proposed in a historic neighborhood. Of course, this should be somewhat obvious even without the Sandborn maps (which are great). Historic neighborhoods near downtown were settled before the age of the automobile, so people needed goods and services near their doorsteps. It stands to reason that mixed-use buildings were an integral part of the neighborhoods. And I hope they can be so again.

Comments 4

  • I’ve always thought Urban Times erred on the side of supporting neighbors against development in these types of disputes. That was an interesting article and it caught my eye as well.

  • If only the people running the Chatham Arch neighborhood association would read this article. Some of the more vocal residents even more so. I don’t know where these people got the idea that neighborhoods nearly 200 years old are historically single-use. If the yuppies wanted that, they should have stayed in suburbia.

  • I imagine most people in Chatham Arch have read the article – they contribute many of the articles to it, as do all the downtown neighborhoods, and it’s delivered to everyone’s doorsteps.

    I don’t know enough about the specifics of Chatham Arch to know what the disputes are. I know I’ve advocated on the side of neighborhoods in comments here, but then I’ve really only seen up close how Herron-Morton Place and Old Northside work closely with IHPC and with businesses to try to let get them up and running and true to the character of the neighborhood in building styles at the same time.

    Both HMP and ONS are really invested in getting new businesses into the the neighborhoods and supporting the ones that are there.

    If Chatham Arch residents are truly against mix use, then they’re pretty off the mark — most of the neighborhoods downtown had businesses interspersed with residences. That’s the beauty of it; restaurants and stores in walking distance so we never have to leave downtown.

    You know what would be awesome – if you talked to David Baker or Meg Purnsley from IHPC about some of the ideas and discussions Urban Indy has hosted. It would make great reading, your audience would be really interested, and it would pull in the perspective of experts in Indianapolis historical architecture and land use.

    I’ve talked to both of them in the course of working on our historic home – they’re both friendly and accessible. Contact info for them is on the indy.gov website…

  • Thanks for the comment and idea. I imagine when the next issue comes up I could contact them.

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