Urban & Suburban

Intern Emma Hall talks with two Oaks Academy Middle School students about their visions for the Monon 16 neighborhood, where their school is located.

I came into the interview with two big questions for students Grace and Jaden. I wanted to know what changes they would like to see in the Monon 16 neighborhood, and what needed to happen for those changes to come to fruition. They both agreed that they wanted Monon 16 to eventually reflect the same level of urban renewal that Herron-Morton does. Herron-Morton has a combination a coffee shops, restaurants, and stores that make people want to spend time there. Thats a big part of what Monon 16 needs are attractions to bring people in. Both students say that having people out and about make a place feel lived-in and safe, not to mention that it improves the appearance of a neighborhood exponentially. That’s why walkability is key in any urban neighborhood. They both said that speeding cars and small sidewalks make them weary of walking or biking on 16th. So, those things could definitely stand to change.


Grace, who lives in Carmel, made an interesting observation about urban vs suburban neighborhoods. In the suburbs, you have neighborhoods, and you have neighbors, but you don’t always have a community. People don’t walk around as much, they don’t live as close together, and frankly they don’t have many reasons to talk to each other. That’s part of why Grace likes downtown, being part of a community is not only encouraged, but is sometimes necessary.

Jaden, a Herron-Morton resident, stressed the importance of public parks in urban areas. The beauty of public parks is that they are simple, but they can do wonders for a community. A park is one of few places that people of all ages can enjoy for cheap. Parks encourage spending time outside, exercising, and meeting neighbors. They are great places to hold public events, to place community gardens, and to help neighbors transition into being comfortable with sharing space. Finding comfort in sharing is part of what makes urban neighborhoods strong.