KLA Perspectives

How Indianapolis Used Animals, Bikes, Yoga and a Passport to Engage Kids in Sustainability Planning

Posted byKim Lundgren on Aug 24, 2018 1:58:51 PM

Community Day Social Media Graphic (1)Earlier we wrote about KLA’s work with the City of Indianapolis to think outside the box for public engagement in developing their Sustainability and Resilience Plan. Part of the Thrive Indianapolis approach is a focus on several populations that are not typically engaged in a community planning process, including youth. 

Young people -- which we defined loosely as elementary through high school ages -- will, after all, be the ones living with the impacts of today’s decisions longer than the rest of us.

So Indianapolis pulled together the first Thrive Community Day in mid-August as an end-of-summer celebratory and educational event specifically designed to engage a younger audience. It was a hit. 

More than 100 people -- including Congressman André Carson and his daughter Thrive Community Day congressman(pictured here) -- came out to enjoy: 

  • Talking with 20 local organizations on site, including: Radio One, Eskenazi Health, Citizens Climate Lobby, YMCA, Republic, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Nine13sports, Big Car, Big Brother Big Sister, Enroll Indy, White River Vision Plan, etc.
  • Raffles for adults completing surveys and kids finishing their passports (see below) with prizes like sports events tickets, restaurant gift cards, and a Kindle Fire
  • Activities based on each of the Thrive Indianapolis plan elements, including:
    • Food & Urban Agriculture:  Planting a vegetable seed in biodegradable containers
    • Energy: Making a pinwheel from paper, pencil, and thumb tackThrive Community Day seeds
    • Economy: Drawing a picture of what you want to be when you grow up
    • Transportation & Land Use: Riding on Nine13sports bike simulator
    • Waste & Recycling: Learning about what can and cannot be recycled with Republic
    • Natural Resources: Coloring in and adding to a picture of a park/natural scene
    • Built Environment: Participating in an activity saying what activities and infrastructure they’d like to see built around the White River as part of the White River Vision Plan
  • Yoga
  • A reading of the Lorax from a local librarian
  • The hugely popular Silly Safaris show where the kids got to interact with and DSC_0096learn about lots of crazy critters
  • Snapping photos at the photo booth

The passports (see images below or download the full passport here) were particularly popular and were designed with our audience in mind. Take a look at some of the pages to see how the City used the books to be a) fun b) educational and c) a way to get feedback from kids for whom our traditional survey approach would not be appropriate.

DSC_0069For Indianapolis, the youth focus aligns with other city initiatives like the green schools certification program called the Thriving Schools Challenge.  

There are so many aspects of Thrive Indianapolis that have broken the mold for how KLA works with cities on their various planning projects. How we approach a younger audience with events like Thrive Community Day and other tactics is one example, and we look forward to sharing more. 


Thrive Community Day passport for kids. Check out the full passport here

Thrive Community Day passportThrive Community Day passport





Thrive Community Day passportThrive Community Day passportThrive Community Day passportThrive Community Day



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Topics: sustainability, community engagement, resilience, cities, youth outreach