Public Policy Institute
In January 2015, Thriving Communities, Thriving State kicked off with a plenary session and convening the three commissions for the first time. Background work began in summer 2014, with staff and faculty of the IU Public Policy Institute (Institute) and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs examining state and local strategies and policies that can help communities of all sizes thrive and fulfill the critical roles they play in attracting businesses, new business investment, and workers. The purpose of Thriving Communities, Thriving State, part of a second Policy Choices effort, is to frame the changing demographics and economic realities of Indiana within a place-based context to provide a clearer view forward for policymakers, while preserving those places and aspects that make us uniquely Indiana.
As with Policy Choices I, the work is led by three commissions. The commissions are place-based, focusing on issues affecting (1) Urban communities, (2) suburban and mid-sized, or (3) rural and small communities. The commissions, assisted by the Institute research team, will make recommendations to state and local policy leaders about which current policies help or hinder communities, where there are policy gaps, and what policy changes are needed to support communities.
Framing the discussions around attracting businesses, new business investment, and workers, expert panels will be convened on topics identified during the brainstorming sessions. The topics may include workforce development and education; sustainability and the environment; infrastructure; arts, amenities, and recreation; health; and/or local government finance.
This future-focused project will be inclusive of the entire state, represented by community type, and will engage young people through participation by younger leaders on the commissions and at public forums. The work of the commissions will be documented in a final report, including strategies and policy recommendations for each set of communities, and a summary examining the complementary or competitive nature of the recommendations across the three types of communities. The Institute will work with IUPUI and others to convene a gubernatorial forum in late August/early September 2016, with a format similar to the one the Institute hosted in 2012.
The Institute unveiled the commission recommendations on March 23, 2016, during an event at the Indiana State Museum.
See Thriving Communities, Thriving State Recommendations: