Inspiring Places

What Makes A Place Inspiring?

According to the New York-based Project for Public Spaces, the leading “place-making” consultants in the world, the following characteristics are necessary for a vibrant public place:
  • What’s There? – The quality, uniqueness, beauty, safeness, accessibility and pedestrian friendliness of the built and/or natural environment.
  • Who’s There? – A broad range of people interacts there.
  • What’s Going On There? – The place has energy and encourages a variety of uses that is either formal or informal.
  • Who Has “Ownership”? – There is an organization that actively encourages ongoing maintenance and investment.
  • Is It Connected? – Ideally the place is connected by sidewalk and/or greenways to the users of the space and the other vital places it is connected to.


There is a lack of coordinated and intentional, sustainable focus on public spaces, urban design and neighborhood revitalization in central Indiana, which diminishes the value of the many assets we have to residents, visitors and newcomers alike.


Transform public spaces into high quality community amenities that are cared for – and connected both physically, and through a concerted and sustainable plan.


What Spaces Are Calming? Energizing? Beautiful? Inspiring?

Vibrant communities and engaging cities have defining places that create excitement and pride in its citizens and visitors. The Inspiring Places Initiative is intended to help citizen groups transform under-used spaces into high quality community amenities. These places include parks and public plazas, historic business districts and cultural districts, and the greenways and pedestrian/bike trails that connect them. CICF’s work is intended to assist and advocate for beautification and development programs, public art, and/or festivals that enhance any public place. 

Your gift to the Inspiring Places Initiative will help transform under-used spaces into community amenities that attract and inspire us all while they reinforce the unique qualities and benefits of life in central Indiana. For more information, please contact Rob MacPherson, CICF’s vice president for development, at 317.634.2423 or


Impact Stories

Indianapolis Cultural Trail – A Legacy Of Gene And Marilyn Glick

The cornerstone of CICF’s Inspiring Places Initiative is the Cultural Trial. Made possible through a public-private partnership, the $52 million, 8-mile trail is a world-class bike and pedestrian urban walkway that connects business and cultural districts in downtown Indianapolis. Slated for completion in 2011, the trail includes over $2 million of public art projects and serves as the downtown hub for the entire central Indiana greenway system.

The Trail was recently awarded $20.5 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The federal grant is part of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Learn more about the trail!

Windsor Village Park Family Center Opens - Transforming A Neighborhood

Hundreds of neighbors cheered when Indy Parks & Recreation proudly opened the doors of its newest family center at Windsor Village Park on Indianapolis in January 2009. Gone was the community’s old one-room family center, and in its place stood a 12,000 square-foot replacement, courtesy of dynamic public/private funding collaborative led by CICF affiliate, The Indianapolis Foundation.

What initially began as a feasibility study evolved into a centerpiece of revitalization for an economically depressed area of Indianapolis. Area community organizations, the Indianapolis Parks Foundation, the City of Indianapolis, and Synthesis Incorporated (a firm specializing in architecture, landscape and interior design) all collaborated to help create an inspiring venue. And the Indianapolis Foundation provided $250,000 toward the $2 million project costs.

An Inspiring Place

Featuring an abundance of natural light and vibrant colors, the center houses a gymnasium, computer lab, kitchen, game room, fitness room, and community meeting rooms. The community family room provides space for residents to meet, interact and socialize. The “new” family center will also be a safe haven for neighborhood kids. “Synthesis worked closely with the residents of Windsor Village to ensure the new facility would embrace social, cultural and recreational needs of this tight-knit community,” said Jenelle Smagala, president of Synthesis Incorporated.

The surrounding park will include a fitness trail, playgrounds, open lawn play areas and a playground. Many of the mature trees and wooded fence lines on the property have been preserved, benefitting wildlife and the environment while maintaining a green corner of the community.

A Synergy Of Initiatives

The family center’s interior, features and surrounding grounds were designed to inspire. And the services and programs align with CICF’s Family Success Initiative: After school services help provide working families the support needed to improve their economic circumstances, and spaces for social activities provide families the opportunity to spend time together and with neighbors.

“This family center provides opportunities for health and wellness, social interaction, education and recreation for all the residents of Windsor Village,” said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.

Other funders included the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Finish Line Youth Foundation, Indianapolis Power & Light Co., Irwin Union Bank, Synthesis Incorporated and Safeco Insurance Foundation.

Make a Difference!

For more information on how to get involved with the Windsor Village Park Family Center project, contact Cindy Porteous, the Indianapolis Parks Foundation’s executive director, at 317.860.3250 or

Visit for additional information about the Indianapolis Parks Foundation.