Urban Patch has a simple but powerful mission, to help make the American inner city better. Our work uses what we call a “past forward” approach that brings the rich legacy of our community’s past in building strong and resilient neighborhoods forward to today and the future by using holistic models of social, environmental and economic community development. Our projects have ranged from saving long-abandoned and foreclosed homes in the inner city to turning vacant lots into community spaces that can provide fresh and healthy food or ecological benefits, and to education programs that teach people how to take care of their families’ health, improve their community and steward their urban environment.
We take an incremental and resourceful approach to neighborhood development and urban design. Each initiative–small or large, short-term or for the next generation–includes an aspect that takes on the built fabric of the city (the urban) and in parallel an aspect that addresses the environmental fabric of the city (the patch) while incorporating both into the social, economic and cultural dynamics and considerations that are necessary for a successful and resilient urban community.
of, pertaining to, or designating a city or town.
living in a city.
characteristic of or accustomed to cities; citified: He is an urban type.
a small piece of material used to mend a tear or break, to cover a hole, or to strengthen a weak place.
a piece or tract of land; plot.
a small field, plot, or garden.
to make by joining patches or pieces together: to patch a quilt.
to settle or smooth over (a quarrel, difference, etc.)
to mend, cover, or strengthen with or as if with a patch or patches.
The Urban Patch began in 2011 with four Phase 1 pilot projects that were completed in the fall of 2012. The first is the Stone Soup Garden, a collaborative and educational community garden program with our community partners at Fall Creek Gardens. The second is the Delaware Project, the preservation/renovation of a historic inner-city home. The third is the Park Garden, a new urban green space. the final project is the Indy Rain Gardens. a demonstration urban residential lot rain garden with the Fall Creek Watershed Project. The projects are located in Midtown Indianapolis in the Mapleton Fall Creek neighborhood that is home to a number of cultural, educational, and civic institutions. With historic and traditional mixed-use and walkable neighborhood fabric, easy access to Downtown Indianapolis, our focus area is defined by opportunities for urban redevelopment including housing, commerce and production, educational and cultural programs, and open space and urban ecologies.
Collaboration is critical for our work and we have engaged a number of partners and collaborators including local development corporations, nonprofits, banks, contractors and entrepreneurs, educators and artists, community elders and youth, friends and family. Our Phase 2 projects in 2012-2013 includes the Sone Soup Kitchen with self-help canning and nutrition classes in collaboration with Big Car, Fall Creek Gardens and the Broadway United Methodist Church, and the Golden Hill Apiary, the reuse of a long-vacant lot as a bee farm and flower garden.
By doing projects that are possible, we have shown that ideas big and small can make a tangible difference in improving the city. There is still a lot of work to be done, but our history shows us that it is possible. We will continue to work in big ways and small toward our goal.
Urban Patch Projects Map
Urban Patch is about ideas and collaboration; share your ideas with us!