Who We Are

Polis (po·​lis | \ ˈpä-ləs \): a state or society especially when characterized by a sense of community; city (Greek) — Merriam-Webster Dictionary

As a self-funded research unit of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, The Polis Center links university and community expertise to the smart use of advanced technologies to help solve problems and help communities take advantage of opportunities. We often serve as the nexus among diverse community-based organizations, government agencies, educational institutions, arts and cultural organizations, businesses, charitable endowments, and faith-based organizations.

From inception, The Polis Center has been guided by core values that include: making a difference, collaboration, developing creative solutions to real-world problems, accountability, integrity, respect, and stewardship.

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Healthy Communities

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Knowledgeable Communities

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Resilient Communities

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Community & Culture

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Spatial Humanities

Further Information

Encyclopedia of Indianapolis

In 1994, we published a 1,600-page encyclopedia that provides a comprehensive social, cultural, economic, historical, political, and physical description of Indianapolis. It is hailed as a national model for urban encyclopedias.

Project on Religion and Urban Culture

From 1996 to 2002, we used a community-academic collaboration to explore and understand the ways in which religion and community have shaped each other in Greater Indianapolis. In the process, we compiled the largest collection of meaningful religious data ever gathered on one American city. Working through community-based partnerships, we cultivated public inquiry and civic conversation about the role of religion in this exemplar metropolitan community. This seven-year study of religion and community in Indianapolis was funded by grants from Lilly Endowment, Inc.