Urban planning students in an immersive learning class are eager to make an impact on the Industry Neighborhood, located southeast of Downtown Muncie.

These students are working with the Industry Neighborhood Association and the Urban Light Community Development Corporation (ULCDC) to create a redevelopment plan for the area.

The process began with students gathering data in the neighborhood, which includes looking at the conditions of streets, sidewalks, street lights, and other infrastructure-related items. They are also identifying problems and opportunities.

“We are also collecting demographics and all sorts of data about the neighborhood to try to understand it better,” said Andrew Kanwit, an urban planning major.

The class is also hosting socially-distanced community meetings in the new urban planning office at Muncie Mall to talk with residents about their vision for the neighborhood.

“COVID-19 certainly has created some interesting opportunities to be creative and innovative in how we do these community meetings,” said Dr. Teresa Jeter, assistant urban planning teaching professor. “We provided online Zoom meetings that occurred simultaneously with our face-to-face meetings, so residents who were leery about coming out still had an opportunity to participate.”

The students will incorporate these meeting insights into the redevelopment plan to ensure it meets the needs and wants of the residents.

“Seeing the community come together behind this, seeing them at our neighborhood meeting, and seeing how passionate they are about this neighborhood, I can really just tell that a lot of people genuinely care,” said Brett Willamann, an urban planning student.

The plan isn’t just about gathering information, though. It could help the neighborhood better advocate for change at city council meetings, for example.

“I think these students are particularly invested in ensuring that they produce quality work, knowing that this is real life,” said Joy Rediger, executive director of ULCDC. “This is immersive learning. These are documents and work that are going to be put into place for the next couple of years.”

Project Participants

  • Lauren Bouslog, Urban Planning, Spiceland, Indiana
  • Sydney Fawcett, Urban Planning, New Albany, Indiana
  • Dylan Gehring, Urban Planning, Northfield, Minnesota
  • Hannah Jones, Urban Planning, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Riley Jones, Urban Planning, Newburgh, Indiana
  • Andrew Kanwit, Urban Planning, Greenwood, Indiana
  • Laiha Lane, Urban Planning, Martinsville, Indiana
  • Will Snyder, Urban Planning, Hawthorn Woods, Illinois
  • Brett Williaman, Urban Planning, Warsaw, Indiana

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