First Post! / by Jim Hodapp

Let me introduce myself. I'm a software engineer that works from home living in Indianapolis. I grew up in Milwaukee, but headed south to Indy to attend college here. Since then, I've had several different jobs in the area working for various software/tech companies. Two and a half years ago I started working for Canonical. By itself, this isn't a particularly important fact, but the fact that the company is made up of a globally distributive workforce is important. Most of my 600+ coworkers work from their home or wherever else they may find themselves - including me.

Anybody who has worked from home has realized there are pros and cons to doing so. A large negative that I've been wrestling with for at least two of the total years is the isolation of it all. I am not married and don't have anybody living with me. Currently, I live in a mid-town "urban" neighborhood. I use quotes simply because my neighborhood feels like a country neighborhood transplanted into the Indy metro located 5 miles from downtown. It's a very quiet neighborhood, especially during the day. When I first bought my house nine years ago, I thought I was moving in the middle of the action. And from a car-oriented lifestyle, I do live in the middle of a very active place.

Over the last two years, my mindset has changed. I feel like I've awoken from a deep sleep, never noticing what consequences an auto-centric lifestyle imposes on me. Working from home changed all of this and made me ask some very tough questions:

  1. Why is Indy so compartmentalized?
  2. Why are there so many streets that are 100% residential with no opportunities to walk to somewhere for shopping, eating, congregating, dreaming, reading, etc?
  3. Why are most people in the area content to drive everywhere and spend money on gas, maintaining their cars and paying for parking?
  4. What are the alternatives for Indy and how can this city evolve towards a more balanced lifestyle?

It is the purpose of this blog and this site to explore ways in which Indy could slowly evolve towards a less auto-centric city, one where many people can thrive and be inspired and have a deep love and appreciation for where they live. I think Indy is in a unique position to become this city because:

  • The downtown is thriving with an influx of residential being built and these new developments having mixed-use designs.
  • Indy currently has a fairly compact downtown area that mostly is within a square mile of area.
  • Indy's properties are extremely cheap and many neighborhoods in such dire condition that make them the perfect places to experiment with inexpensive and incremental changes.

Thanks for reading this blog and starting on this journey with me. Not only do I hope to help paint very vivid and tangible pictures of what Indy can become, but I hope to improve the lives of as many people as I can in this city that I call home.