THE ARCHITECTURE OF NO MEAN CITY: EPISODE ONE

THE ARCHITECTURE OF NO MEAN CITY: EPISODE ONE

A good friend of mine always says - if you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about, then say something that is 80% true.

So here goes. I’m guessing that most of us spend at least 80% of our lives in and around the built environment. The number is probably closer to 95%, but whatever. The point is, we as citizens, rarely escape constructed space. It’s all around us, all the time. So much so that one could easily make the argument that shelter + human = civilization.  

Given the ubiquity of this relationship, it’s weird that we almost never talk about it. And here in Indianapolis, unquestionably, words like ‘design’ and ‘architecture’ are so relegated to the margins that they're almost invisible.  

People Make the Place: My Personal Homecoming

People Make the Place: My Personal Homecoming

Rediscovering my hometown after over a decade abroad has been nothing short of thrilling.  Pride for our communities grows in every neighborhood.  Driving forces behind the momentum are groups like PUP (People for Urban Progress), Big Car, ROW (Reconnecting Our Waterways) and The Patachou Foundation to mention only a few.  Their efforts have steadily enhanced the local quality of life for people.  I have been lucky to become directly involved with PUP and Big Car since moving back.  Through my work with them it is easy to attest to the sense of family that the individuals behind these organizations create. 

Dear Indianapolis, the time is now

The truth is, however, that we're no longer a startup. The days of cleaning Dome Fabric in my bathtub are over (fact). Increasingly, we're interested in what it means to be post-startup. At the studio, we're constantly discussing scale, production, and community engagement - making sure that as we grow, we continue to bring the community with us. 

BRICKER: What separates actual innovators from those who just talk about it?

Originally published in the Indianapolis Business Journal.

We live in an idea-obsessed time. With the explosion of the sharing economy, tech startups, social media and crowdfunding, we are conditioning ourselves to expect and experience innovation multiple times a day.

The problem with this urgency (and obsessiveness) is that we’re losing focus on the how and why of innovation. We throw the word around so casually that it’s starting to become synonymous with the idea itself. But let’s be clear: An idea is not innovation.

Innovation is about matching need with execution. It’s about changing the conversation and following through.

The how of innovation is the part no one talks about. Mostly because it’s not a linear process. It’s a chaotic mess of starts and stops, of late nights and naysayers, of small surprises and accidental victories.

Innovation is a result, not a goal. Focusing on actually doing the work and making sure it’s done well, that’s the hardest part. Ideas and brainstorming are meaningless without the persistence paired with action.

At PUP, we’ve gotten really good at innovating, not because we’re idea people, but because we recognize the adjacent possible and then do something about it.

Borrowed from author Steven Johnson, the adjacent possible is the ever-expanding blurry future made visible by the right set of present possibilities.

This of course is laughably vague, but it does make sense—innovations don’t materialize from nothing. They emerge when the right people recognize a new opportunity given the technologies, places and realities of the time.

This could be as huge as the iPod or as localized as PUP’s repurposing of the RCA Dome roof. As the innovation expands, each project or product leads to the next one.

The how of the adjacent possible is guided by the why—a clear set of beliefs about the future. And, along with PUP, there’s a collective of social innovators in Indianapolis that are building their why around the city itself.

Organizations like Big Car, The City Gallery, IndyHub, Pattern, The Speak Easy, RecycleForce, Indianapolis Fabrications and Plan 2020 are all tackling civic needs with strong and diverse whys. Our collective why, however, is Indianapolis itself, where innovative installations, events, spaces and places are appearing with delightful and meaningful frequency.

I hope the density of this work begins to brand Indianapolis as an innovative city, and frankly it’s long overdue that we start identifying ourselves this way. We are who we say we are. We don’t need permission. We are not second-tier. We do not need to wait until another city does it before us.

Innovation is about recognizing the adjacent possible, then being the first-best at making it happen. It’s about being post-idea.•

__________

Bricker is chief innovator for People for Urban Progress, a not-for-profit advocating for connectivity, environmental responsibility and good design.

FIRST FRIDAY: April 3, 2015 + ONLINE SALE

PUP will be OPEN this First Friday, April 3, 2015, from 7-10ish at our studio in the Murphy Building.

This month, we'll have a SALE on select items including sweatshirts, our Clerk handbags, and select t shirts. 

In addition, we'll have some prototypes on display that we've been working on. We'd love to get your thoughts and feedback on these potential new products.

PLUS, we're having an online sale! Take 20% off your entire online order with the coupon code:

SPRING20

click here to shop

It's Spring! The sun is shining, flowers are blooming, people are outside. Come on out and join us on Friday night for a little celebration.

See you there,

PUP

5x5: RE-PURPOSE

WIN $10,000 TO REPURPOSE URBAN WASTE.

We're excited to be a host organization for the second year of 5x5, a friendly competition (sponsored by Central Indiana Community FoundationChristel DeHaan Family Foundation and the Efroymson Family Fund) to inspire, ignite and financially support creative and innovative ideas related to the arts.

From buildings to building materials and everything in between, there is no shortage of abandoned resources in our city. Hear five great arts-related ideas for repurposing urban waste into assets that accelerate downtown’s progress. The winner receives $10,000 to bring the idea to life. Check out The Hall and its rotating gallery exhibits, while enjoying food trucks, New Day Meadery, beer, and music.

APPLICATIONS DUE WEDNESDAY, JUNE 4, AT 5:00 PM. Click here to apply.

FREE tickets here
Friday, June 27, 2014  |  Happy hour @ 5:30 p.m.,

Presentations begin @ 7:00 p.m.

The Hall
202 N. Alabama St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204

 

The theme re:Purpose is inspired by Velocity, a co-created, five-year strategic action plan for Downtown Indianapolis guided and activated by collaborating organizations. “Repurpose” is your tool to address one of Velocity’s focus areas: arts & culture, downtown experience, public spaces & activation, neighborhoods & livability, vibrant economic development, and multi-modal transportation. Check out the Velocity plan here.


HINKLE SEAT SALE

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO SNAG SOME HINKLE FIELDHOUSE SEATS

We are excited to announce that many seats from historic Hinkle Fieldhouse will be available for sale to the public on June 7, 2014. There is a very limited quantity of seats available, and the sale will be conducted on a first-come-first-served basis. There will be no pre-order or reservations

What: Hinkle Fieldhouse Seat Sale

When: Saturday, June 7, 2014; 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Where: Butler University Campus Farm. Near the intramural fields just west of 52nd St. & Boulevard Place. 

 

Seats will be sold "as-is" for $100 each, and will be available as singles, pairs, or in sets of three. A single seat will cost $100, a pair $200, and a triple $300. 

Proceeds from the sale will go toward the public installation of seats around Butler's campus and the city of Indianapolis, as well as to support the Hinkle renovation campaign. Interested in sponsoring an installation? Contact Jonathan Allinson at jonathan@peopleup.org.

"As-is" means that these riser-mounted seats will not be sold with a base. Bases and brackets can be found online from companies such as Stadium Seat Depot or a number of other options.