95. Rethink the Light Pole

Standard light poles come in all shapes and sizes. Often, the style of the light poles is used to convey location (historic districts use more historic looking fixtures).  Recently, grid free lighting has become increasingly discussed in municipalities because of the high cost to operate.  Occasionally, you might come across a wind or solar powered…

94. Display Public Art At Gateways

The City’s entrance gateways are the first impression people have of South Bend. Much effort has been made in improving the curb appeal of the City’s gateways, from the Roundabouts at the north and south ends of town to the West Sides Main Streets projects. Using art at the gateways has many benefits. First, the…

93. Establish A Street Typology for All Urban Streets

There’s a difference between roads and streets.  If you search for either on Google you get very different results.  Once we come to the conclusion that we want our streets to do more – have greater capacity for multimodal transportation, manage stormwater, calm traffic – there’s a myriad of infrastructure options that a city can…

91. Establish a Neighborhood Solar Co-op

What if an entire neighborhood had all of its electricity needs met?  Attractive place to live, right?  Now imagine the impact to a neighborhood previously high in “Vacant and Abandoned” property.  This sort of investment could systemically benefit the community.  Converting the residents from passive consumers of energy to active producers would be both empowering…

90. Create Energy Grants, like Facade Grants

The Downtown South Bend organization provides easy to access selection of grants, including exterior renovation grants, aimed at encouraging growth and vibrancy in the downtown area. While Indiana Michigan Power has its custom rebate program and NIPSCO has its energy efficiency programs, these can be daunting to try and navigate if you aren’t familiar.  Having a program similar…

88. Motion Activated Two-Step Street Lighting

A significant portion of the city’s electricity bill is generated simply by powering the street lights (in South Bend upwards of $80,000 a month).  Another little known fact is that as the lights age, they begin to dim.  These lights burn 12 hours a day, every day and they are essential for the functionality and…

87. Update Code of Ordinances to Include Energy Efficiency

Policy and the Built Environment aren’t the sexiest of topics to address, but they are among the first things mentioned when looking to improve the health of communities. Throughout his tenure, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has prioritized innovation and workmanship, topics that apply directly to those two facets.  In issuing a continued call to action, if the…

86. Chase Tower as Green Tower

It’s not secret that South Bend has had a challenging situation in the Chase Tower.  Now that it’s undergone millions of dollars in renovation, the Tower is set for a new life.  At the same time, the JMS building across the street is also getting new life. While each of these buildings are under construction, there…

85. District Scale Energy Planning for Neighborhoods

According to the National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association, inefficiencies transmission and distribution of energy cost approximately $19.5 billion per year in the US.  This process, includes all of the steps between power generation at a plant to end-use site consumption.  Much of this power loss is through resistance in the wires and equipment, converted to heat. Congestion…

84. Install Neighborhood Seating

If we think of the sidewalks in our neighborhoods as the extensions of public transit that they are, it stands to reason that having some public seating along the way would support use. Beyond this, neighborhood scale seating, much like stoop culture, helps to foster community by having shared public spaces to interact in very…