Recommendations for a Thriving Indiana

Services: Policy studies, Facilitated decision making, Focus groups, Data analysis, Geographic information systems, Policy analysis, Data management, Strategic planning, Analytical studies

Research Areas: Economic Development, Tax & Finance, Housing & Community Development, Land Use & Environment, Intergovernmental Relations

When it comes to Indiana, one size does not fit all. Our state is blessed with open spaces and small, rural communities reminiscent of simpler times, friends on front porches, or a Norman Rockwell painting. At the other end of the spectrum is Indianapolis, the 14th largest city in America, and urban communities from Gary to New Albany, Evansville to Fort Wayne. In between are cities, suburbs, towns, and rural communities of various shapes and sizes. All have differing assets, opportunities, and needs.

So Thriving Communities, Thriving State is, in essence, three studies in one: an urban communities study, a mid-sized communities study, and a rural/small communities study (see definitions on page 2). This report is a summary of those three reports. The work was informed by three commissions composed of people from many walks of life in each kind of community. The research, analysis, and resulting recommendations were guided by their knowledge of the kinds of communities in which they live, work, and serve.

Thriving Communities, Thriving State, produced community-based recommendations that require policy decisions at the local, regional, and state levels. In other words, it’s not only what Indiana can do for its communities, but also what communities can do for themselves and the state.

All three commissions prioritized:

• Education/workforce preparation

• Leadership and engagement

• Quality of life and quality of place

In addition to these overlapping goals, the commissions each identified other areas including government innovation/local control, entrepreneurship, and acceptance of diversity.


Expert Team

Laura Littlepage
R. Mark Lawrance
  • R. Mark Lawrance
Drew Klacik
John Marron
  • John Marron, AICP
  • Senior Policy Analyst
Jamie Palmer
Sue Burow
  • Sue Burow
  • Senior Policy Analyst
Breanca  Merritt
  • Breanca Merritt, PhD
  • Senior Research Analyst
  • 317-261-3029
Ronnetta Spalding
  • Ronnetta Spalding
  • Communications Coordinator
Debbie Wyeth
Jamar Cobb-Dennard
Brittany Glaze
  • Brittany Glaze
Karla Camacho-Reyes
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