Gentrify: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

In 2016, The Kheprw Institute came together with members of the community to host monthly community conversations in partnership with Spirit & Place Festival.

From the Ground Up Meetings

2nd Sundays, 3-5pm KI,
3549 Boulevard Place

Join us throughout 2017 to continue discussing and implementing strategies for people centered community development in Indianapolis.



Is Gentrification the Problem in Indianapolis?

By Imhotep Adisa


What We Don’t Understand About Gentrification

Stacey Sutton | TEDxNewYork


Does Placemaking Cause Gentrification? It's Complicated.

By Juliet Kahne


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, 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

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


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:
###Media Contacts
Bohlsen Group Media Contact: Andrea Hawman 317.275.2063
Kheprw Institute Media Contact: Imhotep Adisa 317.329.4803 ext. 706

Previous Speakers And Events

Innovative Solutions to Neighborhood Change

October 23, 2016 3-5pm

This discussion will focus on solutions communities around the US have used to address gentrification and its root causes. We will begin with a panel, followed by a Q&A and discussion. Panelists are Father Paul Abernathy, Rachel McIntosh and Joe Bowling.

Meet the Panel

Rev. Paul Abernathy FOCUS Pittsburgh

Father Paul Abernathy is an Orthodox Christian priest and the Director of FOCUS Pittsburgh, an Orthodox Christian non-profit focused on human development in the Hill District, Pittsburgh Pa. He has B.A. in International Studies from Wheeling Jesuit University, and holds a Master in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh as well as a Master of Divinity from St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. Since its inception in 2011, FOCUS Pittsburgh has distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars in food, clothing, furniture, transportation assistance, Identification, and emergency relief to the Greater Pittsburgh Community which includes a Back Pack Feeding Program that distributes food to 2,500 children every weekend during the school year. Paul is also the CEO of the FOCUS Pittsburgh Free Health Center which offers free primary and free behavioral health care to Pittsburgh’s uninsured and underinsured with an initiative currently underway to address Community Trauma called Trauma Informed Community Development. A former Non-Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Army, Father Paul is a combat veteran of the Iraq War and has received community awards to include the New Pittsburgh Courier’s 2013 Fab 40 award, Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 under 40, and Wheeling Jesuit University’s Fr. Pedro Arrupe Distinguished Alumni Award.

Rachel McIntosh Community Development Practitioner

Rachel has nearly 20 years of experience in comprehensive community economic development, working worldwide. Over her career, she served as Senior Program Officer with Local Initiatives Support Corporation. In that capacity, she worked to advance a broad range of community revitalization efforts, managing investments in targeted neighborhoods and community-driven real estate projects. In addition to her time with LISC, she served as a program officer for the Annie E. Casey Foundation where she helped manage the design, implementation and evaluation of community capacity building programs, social investments and grantmaking for the foundation’s signature place-based initiative spanning the United States and Latin America. She also serves as the US representative for the SOIF Foundation in Togo. Ms. McIntosh has a Master of Arts in Philanthropic Studies and a Master’s in Public Affairs with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from Indiana University.

Joe Bowling, Englewood Community Development Corporation

Joe Bowling is the co-director of Englewood CDC. Learn more at

Deb Trocha, Indiana Cooperative Development Center

Debbie Trocha joined the Indiana Cooperative Development Center in August, 2006 after serving as Executive Director of the Indiana Small Business Development Center. She has over 20 years of economic development experience. Debbie coordinates the annual Indiana Cooperative Summit, bringing together professionals from all co-op sectors. Under her leadership, ICDC promotes cooperatives as a vibrant model to address economic and social needs. ICDC provides start-up, management, and technical assistance to a wide variety of co-ops in agriculture, arts, childcare, education, energy, and housing sectors. ICDC also provides training opportunities designed to bring together groups of people involved in co-op development.

Gentrify: Equitable Development vs. Economic Development

September 25, 2016, 3-5 p.m.

September 25, 2016, 3-5 p.m.
This discussion will focus on gentrification and strategies to encourage equitable development and how these differ from conventional economic development models. We will begin with a panel of speakers: Alexis Stephens of PolicyLink; Leigh Evans of Mapleton Fall Creek Development Corporation. This will be followed by a community discussion.

Gentrify: People, Property and Profit

August 28, 2016, 3-5 p.m.

This discussion will focus on gentrification and the complex and often conflicting interests of people, property and profit. Elle Roberts, Dr. Jackelyn Hwang, Meredith Brickell, Wendy Cooper and Michael McKillip will speak as panelists and then lead into a discussion.

Culture Wars: Art & Gentrification

July 24, 2016, 3-5 p.m.

This discussion we will discuss The Culture Clash and explore deeply into the the aspects of Culture as it plays its parts in Gentrification. Jim Walker, Oasa DuVerney, Mildred Beltre and Wil Marquez will speak as a panel and lead into a discussion.

Gentrify: Defining Gentrification

July 24, 2016, 3-5 p.m.

Spirit and Place Festival and Kheprw Institute are partnering to launch Gentrify: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, a series of discussions which will explore the impact and ramifications of gentrification above and beyond displacement. This discussion will finally answer the question, what is Gentrification? Each conversation in the series will feature a panel of local voices and video conferencing in a speaker from another city.


April 24, 2016, 3-5 p.m.

Spirit and Place Festival and Kheprw Institute are partnering to host Gentrify: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, a series of discussions which will explore the impact and ramifications of gentrification above and beyond displacement. This discussion will explore gentrification through education, schools and the mythos of "The American Dream". Each conversation in the series will feature a panel of local voices and video conferencing in a speaker from another city. Ahmed Young, Indianapolis Director of the Office of Education Innovation Brandon Cosby, Executive director of Flanner House and former principal of Shortridge High School John Harris Loflin, Indianapolis based education activist, scholar and curator of

From the Ground Up: A People-Centered Approach to Development

November 6, 2016, 3-6 p.m.

This hands-on workshop explores ways to develop a people-centered approach to community development. Community development is supposed to be a process grounded in the collective action and perspectives of community members. The trouble is, community development work often leaves people—the residents and other stakeholders who make a place “home”—out. Rather, institutional perspectives and goals are put first. How then do we work to help communities in a way that puts people first? This is a workshop for concerned neighbors, neighborhood association folks, congregations, community development professionals—anyone!— who wishes to gain new skills and ideas around grassroots people-centered community development. Participants will learn how to put these skills to direct use as well as learn how to build a cohort of community change-makers to continue working together long past the Spirit & Place Festival.