Polis (pōləs): city (Greek); a community characterized by a sense of making a difference for the greater good
The Polis Center is an applied research unit at IUPUI committed to linking university and community knowledge. By combining data and information technologies effectively across a variety of domains, we support research and analysis for better decision-making and to help improve policy and practice for the greater good of communities in Indiana.
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.
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. Thanks to the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, Inc., 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.
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.