Brittanie Redd is no stranger to Midtown. She was a familiar face at public meetings during her time as Community Builder with the Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation from 2015 to 2017. She worked with residents, nonprofit allies, and the City to implement the Mid-North Quality of Life Plan.
The Butler grad left town to complete a master’s degree in urban and regional planning and recently returned to Indianapolis to take a position as principal planner for land use strategy with the Department of Metropolitan Development’s division of long range planning. Among other duties, she’s managing the People’s Planning Academy 2.0 (PPA) that focuses on transportation and land use.
In June, Redd was chosen by the Washington, DC–based smart growth advocacy group Transportation for America to take part in its inaugural class of fellows for a new Arts, Culture and Transportation (ACT) Fellowship. The yearlong ACT Fellowship is funded by the Kresge Foundation to spur integration of arts and culture into the transit experience as well as to develop the Fellows’ leadership skills.
Redd will collaborate on the #MyRide project with another Indianapolis-based ACT Fellow, urban planner Danicia Malone, who serves as programs and facilities manager for Purdue University’s Black Cultural Center.
“We’re conducting an equity analysis of the Red Line,” Redd said. They hope to capture user stories by having conversations with people on the bus and on the platforms about their experiences. The goal is “to discover what’s at the heart of the Red Line experience, how people feel, and how their day-to-day is being impacted.”
Redd said some trends are already emerging on the Red Line. “So we’re using it to prompt people, ‘How do you feel about that?’ There’s a bit of tension between new riders and long-time riders and it feels as though there are concerns about gentrification,” she said. “As we become aware of different themes that emerge in conversations around the Red Line we’ll dig a little deeper.”
Before launching the project, Redd and Malone met with IndyGo and outlined the scope of their work. “We want our research to be helpful,” she said. That aspect involves compiling data through online and social media surveys as well as face-to-face interviews.
Redd and Malone will partner with Big Car Gallery to create inviting installations at Red Line stations for data gathering. “We want to tell the story of equity surrounding the Red Line, which sounds very vague, but one of the things we’re doing is being as flexible as possible,” she said. Podcasts about the work-in-progress and an exhibit upon completion of the Fellowship are also under consideration.
Redd said the unpaid fellowship will include some travel to DC and Minneapolis for workshops and interactions with other Fellows but it’s also a good fit with her work at the City. “There are some natural synergies that exist between the Fellowship and my day job, like PPA, and we’re looking into transit-oriented development along the Blue Line.” In the meantime, don’t be surprised if another rider prompts you to talk about the Red Line and what Indianapolis transit changes mean in your life.