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  #1  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2019, 10:48 PM
Docere Docere is offline
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How similar are Columbus and Indianapolis?

These non-Rust Beltish cities that grew quickly after WWII seem pretty similar (similar demographics, state capitals, annexations of suburbs etc.)
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  #2  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2019, 2:51 AM
jmecklenborg jmecklenborg is offline
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They're very different places.
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  #3  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2019, 4:12 AM
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They're similar but not that similar. I currently live in Columbus and have been to Indianapolis a few times so I feel like I'm a good person to answer the question. They both look similar in urban form from aerials and I've confused the two on a map before when I wasn't paying close attention. They're culturally similar although Columbus feels more diverse and liberal. Indianapolis feels more conservative but weirdly more progressive.

Both cities annexed huge portions of the metro area. I think Indianapolis is consolidated with Marion County, but Columbus is in three different counties and has a spider web of a corporate boundary with lots of enclaves like Upper Arlington and Bexley and random townships everywhere.

They both are not very rust belt but they both still have really awful neighborhoods that experienced decline and abandonment but they hide it well. Columbus more so than Indy. Despite both having a reputation for being new tech hubs and being more white collar than their neighbors like Pittsburgh and Cleveland, they still have a lot of Detroit looking neighborhoods if you know where to look.

The wealthier parts of both cities are to the north. Carmel, Indiana is fairly similar to Dublin, Ohio. The undesirable portions of both cities are the southern portion of the metro area. The Columbus area is lucky to have Grandview Heights, Upper Arlington, and Bexley as separate cities so close to the urban core, having those wealthy well run cities so central with separate leadership gives the inner city a nice mix of incomes and intact homes. If Columbus had consolidated with Franklin County I'd imagine those residents would have jumped ship for the Delaware County suburbs. Indianapolis doesn't seem to have a higher income neighborhood close to the downtown core.

Indianapolis has a much nicer downtown. The cultural trail, the new infill, the overall cohesiveness and interconnectedness with other urban parts of the city is really good. They seem to care more about public investments in the downtown in Indianapolis and they've put a lot of work into a new zoning code and comprehensive plan. Columbus has an outdated code and no political will to improve things to get better development or make big investments on the scale of the bus rapid transit Indy got or their separated bike lanes. Columbus is seeing a lot of investment in the downtown area but there are huge swaths of surface lots and it doesn't feel like a lively desirable place. After 5 it empties out very quickly.

Indianapolis doesn't have a Short North / High Street corridor equivalent but Columbus would be a lot more impressive if the downtown had seen similar levels of investment to Indianapolis. Most of the neighborhoods in Indianapolis are unremarkable. I am not excited by the types of homes in Indianapolis at all. One of the biggest assets of Columbus that sets it apart from Indy is the neighborhoods. There is nothing like German Village or Victorian Village in Indianapolis. Clintonville looks like a midwestern SE Portland. Columbus overall feels like an older more established metro area. Suburbs like Worthington feel like Connecticut, there are random streetcar suburban retail strips in Columbus with very old buildings. You don't really see this in Indianapolis on the scale of Columbus.


Some pictures by me so you all can compare, contrast, discuss:


German Village - Columbus


Downtown - Columbus


Short North - Columbus


Clintonville - Columbus


Downtown - Columbus



Fountain Square - Indianapolis


Downtown - Indianapolis


Lockerbie Square - Indianapolis


Downtown - Indianapolis


Fountain Square - Indianapolis


Downtown - Indianapolis
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  #4  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2019, 11:59 AM
aderwent aderwent is offline
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To add on to the excellent post by Cityscapes:

My only interaction with Indianapolis was a short trip there as a kid, a trip to a concert there ten years ago, and the HGTV show 'Good Bones'.

That being said, Indianapolis has nothing even close to an Ohio State. The education, research, and cultural benefits are unmatched. They don't have an OSU Medical Center or Nationwide Children's Hospital. They don't have an Easton Town Center which continues to get even better. They have basically zero walkable neighborhoods. Which is insane to me considering when their core was built.

Indianapolis has a booming convention business, and its associated developments are what makes downtown Indianapolis feel so alive. It's great and all, but I just got a super touristy feel out of it. Not bad, but I prefer the neighborhood feels of downtown Columbus. Columbus has also really started to invest in public spaces downtown in the last ten years, and it's starting to reap the private benefits. Downtown Columbus is just so physically large it's hard to piece it all together. Once everything is filled out though I think it will be awesome that downtown Columbus will have several very different feeling neighborhoods within it.

Columbus seems to be a data center hub while Indianapolis is a distribution hub. Though Columbus is no distribution slouch (Rickenbacker is on fire), and I'm sure Indianapolis is no data center slouch.

Watching the show 'Good Bones' I seem to see nothing but tiny houses with zero redeeming architectural qualities in their run down areas. It reminds me of Kansas City. The only area I can think of in Columbus like that is Franklinton; which has a tiny stock of houses due to being in an undevelopable flood zone until the flood wall opened in the early 2000s. Most other run down, dangerous areas in Columbus have huge brick houses with tons of potential to come back to glory.
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  #5  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2019, 1:08 PM
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They're quite similar. Both sprawly, cheap, average income, white collar, McMansion-filled state capitals with little prewar urban fabric, almost nonexistent transit and weak cores. Both also growing faster than almost anywhere in the Rust Belt, both have touches of Southern/Appalachian influence, both have smaller black populations than their geographic peers, and both fit more with the Nashvilles and Charlottes of the world moreso than Detroit and Cleveland. Both are archetypal average Middle American metro areas.

Of course there are differences. Columbus is more liberal, with much better core urban fabric and a giant university. Indy has a better downtown and is more centralized. Columbus would probably be a bit more appealing for the SSP crowd. Vintage housing stock in Columbus is vastly better. Columbus just has much better bones, but I'd rather spend a weekend in downtown Indy as opposed to downtown Columbus.
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  #6  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2019, 1:12 PM
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Not nearly as similar as Detroit and Los Angeles.
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  #7  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2019, 1:26 PM
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I'm not really that familiar with either, but from what I do know so far Columbus' inner neighbourhoods seem to have a very particular vernacular that I've not seen replicated elsewhere in the Midwest:

https://goo.gl/maps/WkY8L6nizLPpG2dF7
https://goo.gl/maps/3PqrqwYgq6xMhAzS8
https://goo.gl/maps/a3xfyJNpntWgbC456


Indy's residential neighbourhoods appear more in line with the type of wood framed vernacular on spacious, larger-block, gridiron streets typical of the region.
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  #8  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2019, 2:00 PM
IrishIllini IrishIllini is offline
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Indianapolis reminds me a lot of Champaign, IL. Champaign has its charm, but I’ve never been impressed by Indy. Downtown Indy has its spots, but overall I wouldn’t recommend it. Columbus seems like a nicer place.
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  #9  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2019, 3:13 PM
skysoar skysoar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishIllini View Post
Indianapolis reminds me a lot of Champaign, IL. Champaign has its charm, but I’ve never been impressed by Indy. Downtown Indy has its spots, but overall I wouldn’t recommend it. Columbus seems like a nicer place.
I have been to both Indianapolis and Columbus several times and my impression is, Columbus has a downtown that is reminiscent of southern cities like Charlotte, Atlanta, etc. Downtowns that are tall but lack energy on the streetscapes, and a lack of street activity, yet Columbus neighborhoods have a vibrant eastern feel. Meanwhile Indianapolis has a vibrant downtown like many older eastern cities, but the neighborhoods appear to be more Southern in character and feel. I think where they are similar is their proximity and youth appeal.
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  #10  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2019, 5:04 PM
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How both compared to the "big cities", like Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh? When/if those rebound in the future, they will still have more to offer, or this ship has sailed, and both Indianapolis and Columbus will always be more to desirable, with better and healthier neighbourhoods, better urban fabric, etc.?
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  #11  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2019, 5:30 PM
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They're both very mediocre, both have surprisingly high crime, but also both healthy with likely good futures ahead.

If I had to choose I'd say Columbus has more to offer, better urbanism, prettier, more liberal, better location and in a much better state than Indiana.
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Old Posted Sep 25, 2019, 2:28 PM
mrnyc mrnyc is offline
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Originally Posted by yuriandrade View Post
How both compared to the "big cities", like Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh? When/if those rebound in the future, they will still have more to offer, or this ship has sailed, and both Indianapolis and Columbus will always be more to desirable, with better and healthier neighbourhoods, better urban fabric, etc.?
sorry, but no one can answer that kind of crystal ball question. hopefully things continue to improve for all these cities. a faster pace would be nice, but steady is ok too. i can tell you that if sherwin-williams stays in cle and builds out their new hq, that is going to totally transform cle downtown.
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  #13  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2019, 6:51 PM
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Well, they both have almost exactly the same population. Beyond that, I have no idea.
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Old Posted Sep 25, 2019, 8:55 PM
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I drove through both on I-70 once and when I got to Columbus, after driving through Indy, I felt a little de-ja-vu!
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  #15  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2019, 10:11 PM
BigDipper 80 BigDipper 80 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkeyRonin View Post
I'm not really that familiar with either, but from what I do know so far Columbus' inner neighbourhoods seem to have a very particular vernacular that I've not seen replicated elsewhere in the Midwest:

https://goo.gl/maps/WkY8L6nizLPpG2dF7
https://goo.gl/maps/3PqrqwYgq6xMhAzS8
https://goo.gl/maps/a3xfyJNpntWgbC456


Indy's residential neighbourhoods appear more in line with the type of wood framed vernacular on spacious, larger-block, gridiron streets typical of the region.
German Village was (as the name suggests) settled by a bunch of German craftsmen in the 1830s; when they got done building churches they put the same level of work into their homes. What's interesting is how architecturally different German Village is from Ohio's more-famous German neighborhood, Over-the-Rhine:

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1099...7i16384!8i8192

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1083...7i16384!8i8192

German Village definitely feels more Teutonic than OTR does architecturally.
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Old Posted Sep 25, 2019, 10:40 PM
SFBruin SFBruin is offline
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Originally Posted by Sun Belt View Post
Not nearly as similar as Detroit and Los Angeles.
Lol.
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  #17  
Old Posted Sep 26, 2019, 12:52 AM
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All I can say is both these cities look great -- very low traffic and affordable housing. Great places to raise a family.
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  #18  
Old Posted Sep 26, 2019, 4:59 PM
jtown,man jtown,man is offline
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Originally Posted by Sun Belt View Post
All I can say is both these cities look great -- very low traffic and affordable housing. Great places to raise a family.
I love how that statement is rebellious on this forum lol
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  #19  
Old Posted Sep 26, 2019, 5:05 PM
mrnyc mrnyc is offline
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Originally Posted by SFBruin View Post
Well, they both have almost exactly the same population. Beyond that, I have no idea.

both are sprawly, but cols city is 218 vs indy's 362 sq miles.

and still growing area-wise for both -- at some type of pace -- probably. or at least capable of absorbing more land area.
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  #20  
Old Posted Sep 26, 2019, 5:24 PM
edale edale is offline
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To echo what others have already said here, Columbus and Indy have a lot in common:

- State capital located in the center of their states
- Sprawly city limits that include a ton of suburban areas in the 'city'
- Very flat landscapes with small rivers
- Good network of freeways but no rail transit

They differ in that Indy has a much stronger downtown core, but Cbus has much better urban neighborhoods. Indianapolis' downtown is quite lively and vibrant, and has (had?) a successful mall and multiple department stores. In my visits there, I remember seeing lots of retail and restaurants and a good amount of pedestrian activity. Columbus' downtown is among the worst I've ever encountered for a major city. It's just incredibly dead and boring, with really very little to see or do. I know it's improving, but it still feels very bland, with oversized streets, little in the way of retail, and severely lacking in street activity.

When it comes to neighborhoods, Columbus has the High Street corridor, which is perhaps the most vibrant continuous urban corridor in the Midwest outside of Chicago. They have neighborhoods like German Village, the Short North (which is flanked by Victorian Village and Italian Village on either side of High), the University area, and Clintonville all centered around High. These areas are very walkable and have some gorgeous, healthy residential areas. Outside of the High Street area, though, there's not much of note in Cbus. There are some gentrifying neighborhoods just east and west of downtown and some decent suburbs, but in Cbus it's all about High Street. Indy doesn't have neighborhoods that can compare to those of Columbus. Their best 'urban' neighborhoods- Fountain Square, Lockerbie Square, and Broad Ripple are either small, or just not that impressive, imo.

Indy does have better cultural institutions, I think, and you can tell that Indy is THE city in Indiana. They have a lot of monuments and grand type spaces that Columbus just doesn't have. Even their statehouse is much more handsome than the one in Columbus. Cbus feels like just another city in Ohio, while Indy feels like it's a more significant place in its state. Overall, I'd say they are pretty similar, but I'd prefer Columbus if I had to choose to live in one.

Last edited by edale; Sep 26, 2019 at 5:40 PM.
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