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Citizen Design Champions

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PEOPLE FOR URBAN PROGRESS is an Indianapolis-based 501c3 non-profit that advances good design and civic sustainability by developing products and projects in connectivity, responsible reuse, and making.

PUP is creating a smarter, more sustainable, and more resilient city by combining good design with existing resources. We are stewards of Indianapolis’ resources and curators of its public spaces. 

All cities are facing new challenges as their buildings age. In an urban context, sustainability isn’t just about solar panels and recycling. It’s about rethinking waste and being smart with what we have. 

‘Used’ does not equal unusable. 

These are design challenges, and PUP is the organization best prepared to articulate these challenges, and to mobilize both the public and the design community to face them head-on with creativity, integrity, and innovation. 



01. Reuse

We collaborate with local companies and communities to develop products and projects that define what it means to be a truly sustainable city.

02. Design

We show how design can be affordable, accessible, inclusive, and beautiful. We are citizen designers that are creating the future of our city.

03. City

We position Indianapolis as a leader in smart, sustainable, and resilient design. We are the future of urban design thinking, doing, and building.


“We should think of ourselves as citizens, not consumers.”

michael bricker  |  PUP Founder & executive director


Origin Story

So here's what happened - in the fall of 2008, we knew that the RCA/Hoosier Dome was slated for demolition, as the Indianapolis Colts were moving to their new home at Lucas Oil Stadium. We wondered if there was a plan for the building's iconic white roof. Turns out, there wasn't. So we got to work.

PEOPLE FOR URBAN PROGRESS was founded by two citizens who wanted to create a better urban experience in Indianapolis. We were tired of complaining about our city - it's struggling transit, wasteful construction practices, medicore design, and under-used public spaces. 

We created PUP to make the change we wanted to see in our city.

When you get what you want, the real work begins. Turned out, that roof was made of pretty cool stuff, so we successfully diverted nearly 13 acres of Teflon-coated fiberglass from a local landfill.  We bought a sewing machine, rented a small studio, and started making things. These initial products, wallets, clutches, and messenger bags, became our funding mechanism - helping to raise some dough for our larger urban reuse projects. We kickstarted a social enterprise before we knew what either of those things were. 

We believe that innovation is limitation plus necessity.

We realized that we were onto something - something that all cities are facing - and started salvaging other resources to create products and projects for the citizens of Indianapolis and beyond. We're working to create the responsible and resilient city of the future. It takes brains and guts and elbow grease, and we're ready to make it happen. Here's a few other examples of our work since 2008: 

rca dome roof

RCA DOME ROOF - Nearly 13 acres of Teflon-coated fiberglass and acoustical membrane diverted from a local landfill.

bush stadium seats

Salvaged almost 9000 seats from Indy's BUSH STADIUM. Some were sold to the public, others have been refurbished into bus stops and public seating.

old city hall

Our city's OLD CITY HALL, transformed into a temporary public workspace for the city's long range planning division. 


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