Spirit & Place and Kheprw Institute’s 8-part Series on Gentrification

INDIANAPOLIS – What do Fountain Square, Downtown, Mapleton Fall Creek and Fall Creek Place have in common? Change: new trails, freshly paved roads, newly renovated homes, and new breweries and restaurants have recently popped up in these corners of the city. Neighborhoods may be wondering: How has this happened and who will reap the benefits of these amenities? Are our communities being gentrified block by block?

Gentrification is a real economic and cultural force acting on Indianapolis’ urban neighborhoods, which are predominantly low-income and many predominantly African-American. According to Indianapolis census data compiled by governing.com, the number of census tracts gentrifying quadrupled from 1990-2000 to 2000-2010 (defined by percentage increases in home value, education attainment and median income).

It can be difficult to have honest conversations about the “G word” because of how mired it is with issues of class, politics, race, and human impact. With this in mind, Spirit & Place and the Kheprw Institute partnered in 2016 to host Gentrify: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, a series of community discussions that explored the impact and ramifications of gentrification above and beyond displacement.

With more than 400 participants city-wide, this series provided a variety of voices: community activists, city officials, development professionals and residents a space to dig in deeper on the complex issue of gentrification and its impact on community.

Each month, we Skyped in one or more speakers from around the country to provide a national context to the discussion and share efforts happening in other cities. These included Dr. David Stovall professor of Africana Studies at the University of Chicago Illinois, Alexis Stephens with PolicyLink and Mildred Beltre and Oasa DuVerney of the Brooklyn Hi-Art Machine.

One of the outcomes has been more public discourse around the city on gentrification. Additionally, a group of residents who participated in the series plans to continue meeting monthly to discuss, plan and implement strategies to support a people-centered approach to economic development. KI will assist them to develop a ground up approach to development as as an alternative to top-down.

Starting in Jan 2017 we are launching a second series with Spirit & Place with an emphasis on Equity. Please join us as we continue to provide safe space for important and critical conversations. Learn more about the new series at equity.kheprw.org.

Series Schedule:

All discussion events were free and took place at Kheprw Institute (3549 Boulevard Place). 

  • Feb 28, 3-5 p.m. Can it Happen Here? The Flint Michigan Water Crisis
  • April 24, 3-5 p.m. Miseducation: American Dreams or Nightmares?
  • May 22, 3-5 p.m. Race, Class and Power
  • June 26, 3-5 p.m. Defining Gentrification
  • July 24, 3-5 p.m. Culture Wars
  • August 28, 3-5 p.m. People, Property and Profit
  • September 25, 3-5 p.m. Equitable Development vs. Economic Development
  • October 23, 3-5 p.m. Creative Solutions to Neighborhood Change
  • November 6, 3-6 p.m. From the Ground Up: A People-Centered Approach to Development



The Spirit & Place Festival catalyzes civic engagement, respect for diversity, public imagination, and enduring change through creative collaborations among the arts, humanities and religion. Spirit & Place is a collaborative community project managed by The Polis Center, part of the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. Major partners include Lilly Endowment Inc.; Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, Inc.; Bohlsen Group; Central Indiana Senior Fund, a CICF affiliate; Indiana Landmarks; The Indianapolis Foundation, a CICF affiliate; IUPUI; IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI; WFYI Public Media; and more than 200 other community partners and donors. For more information, call The Polis Center at (317) 274-2455 or visit www.spiritandplace.org.


Kheprw Institute is a community organization that empowers youth through mentorship, leadership and critical thinking through after-school programming, internship and community forums. Learn more: kheprw.org 
###Media Contacts
Bohlsen Group Media Contact: Andrea Hawman ahawman@bohlsengroup.com 317.275.2063 
Kheprw Institute Media Contact: Imhotep Adisa info@kheprw.org 317.329.4803 ext. 706

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