Graeme Sharpe

A curious citizen of Indianapolis
A citizen of Indianapolis

Cities are one of the greatest social developments in human history.  The citizens fire the engines of our economy, while the streets act as our public forum.  Cities offer us the potential to live happy, engaged, and fulfilling lives while reducing our environmental impact.

I love cities.  I am a structural engineer with a strong interest in urban design.  I work with Urban Indy to bring ideas and activities to public attention, and hopefully make the city a little bit better and its residents a little bit happier.

Articles by this author.


Comments 7

  • Graeme,

    Following our discussion after class the other day, I came across the following regarding the work being done at 10th and Emerson… Looks like a KIB tree planting.

    November 13 – Emerson Heights Tree Planting
    10 volunteers needed – Sign Up
    9:00am – 12:00pm

    Volunteers needed to help two eastside neighborhoods plant trees along Eeast 10th Street from Linwood Avenue to Emerson Avenue. These neighbors plan to plant and transform the intersection of Emerson Ave and 10th Street!


    John Marron

  • Graeme,
    I liked your post “The Privatization of Indianapolis.” I think your approach/philosophy on urban development is spot on and I wish more people held the same values. Keep up the good work.

    – Conrad (DS1315)

  • I was reading your story on the parking lots. You mentined the Market Square lot.
    Funny Story.
    When Ballard first went into the mayors office, he started having these things called The Mayors night out. Its a sort of town all meeting for people to hear fromt he mayor about the state of things that are important to them.You ask questions on cards and they try and answer them.
    One of the first ones he did was the downtown MNO.
    I own a small business downtown and so naturally I had questions about the affordability of the parking downtown in the NE quad. This was all before the 50 year parking meter deal. They mentioned the abundance of inexpensive parking and pointed directly at that lot. I explained it was a bit removed from the areas of DT that people wanted to go to and since Indy isnt really that big on walking, the lot usually sat empty. They then said that the lot, gravel at the time, had existed because they city had gotten a varience to have gravel lot downtown and they were not going to renew the varience because the people in the new condos were complaining. Essentially, they were giving up on the only real affordable parking downtown and going to let it close. Not that they had any other plans, either.
    Now I know the lot is ugly, but stores need a place for customers to park thats affordable or they’ll just go out to the burbs and shop where they can park for free.
    Now that they are working on the new Parking meters.. they decided to pave the lot so they could continue to say there is affordable parking downtown, even if it is removed.
    As I predicted before, now that the meters are nearly finished, the rate on the lots is slowing going up. They’ll incease the meters again in Jan thereby doubling the orignal cost before the changes. And we’ll see the lots follow suit. Its already starting. And the city owned lots are the first.
    If we dont start fighting for our downtown businesses, they’ll go away.. either affordable parking or better mass trasit.

    • I know its tough for certain businesses located downtown to compete with other areas that have free parking. But rightly priced parking spaces are the solution, not the problem. What good parking policies do is make sure that prices reflect the demand for parking, and they also encourage the right amount of turnover.

      You can argue about the ideology behind it, but there is no need to argue over the results. This stuff really works and really boosts downtown development/commerce. Indianapolis has underpriced parking for a *long* time and some price increases may be just what is needed to help things out.

      For a good example of something like this, check out SFPark (watch video at

  • The parking lots/garages don’t miss a trick. When I worked downtown we had very reasonable parking rates that stayed almost unchanged for years.

    Then Conseco was completed.

    After that the parking garages, in particular the one on Maryland adjacent to the north side of Conseco, rapidly increased to more than double what they were before. We even started having our 24/7 access limited on many occasions when the operators would charge $20 or more for event parking. Once, they installed ‘reserved parking’ placards in nearly the entire place, limiting us to only the top couple of floors. They backed off, but only after lots of complaints.

    We left downtown because of the problematic and expensive parking. We went downtown originally to be in the heart of things and actually found office space for less /sqft than northside alternatives we’d looked at.

  • Hello
    I read your posting about Ball State’s Urabn Design Center. I’m interested in that and I want you to get information about it from your experience. Could you contact me by email? I wish to get your reply. 🙂 Thank you.

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