About

Who We Are

Polis (pōləs): city (Greek); a community characterized by a sense of making a difference for the greater good

The Polis Center–a unit in the IU School of Informatics and Computing-IUPUI—works with community partners in Indiana and beyond to develop innovative place-based policies and practices for healthier and more resilient communities. It supports disaster mitigation, population health management, community development, and quality-of-life efforts.

Polis experts use geospatial technologies to integrate, manage, and visualize the rapidly growing information on the places where we live and work. The center helps organizations understand gaps in service, trends, assets, and ways to build capacity. Its four areas of emphasis tackle specific problems that impact daily lives and influence actions and developments in each other.

The Polis Center is nationally recognized as a dynamic urban-centered, learning environment with highly professional staff who excel in partnerships, real-world application, and winning solutions for the communities. 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.

For more information, download our Polis Center general information brochure and Polis Center expertise flyer. Visit SAVI to learn more about the SAVI Community Information System, our project that is the nation’s earliest, largest, and most comprehensive system. It integrates data from more than 45 providers to provide an interactive, in-depth look at the Indianapolis MSA at scales from census tracts and neighborhoods to the region at large.

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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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Education

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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. We are developing the digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. A product of the Indianapolis bicentennial effort (2020–21), the digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis will integrate and access the explosion and fragmentation of knowledge created both as born-digital information and as a large new digital archive.

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. Lilly Endowment, Inc. has granted another award for us to examine how Indianapolis congregations have responded to social and economic changes since the Center’s pioneering project on Religion and Urban Culture.