Valparaiso, IN
Creative District Plan

Valparaiso is a small but prosperous and growing community in the Chicago Region. The city has been proactive and deliberate in planning for its future (being the first Indiana community to adopt a comprehensive plan) and in following through on those plans. In December 2014 the city completed ValpoNEXT, a citywide vision plan, and began implementing its actions. Among the early successes of ValpoNEXT was to position the community to compete for grant money in the America’s Best Communities Competition. The city was chosen as a quarter-finalist in the competition and began implementation on one of the top priorities for the ValpoNEXT plan: the creation of a creative district.

Enthusiasm for the process

The three-month planning process gathered hundreds of ideas through large-scale public events, arts stakeholder interviews and online activities. Implementation will forge community partnerships among artists, government, business, students and others, offering a place for all ages to gather, interact and find meaningful work.

The Plan

The final plan includes three initiative themes and 34 specific actions. The Valparaiso Creative District vision is to be a place where the community comes together to create, explore, and celebrate arts, culture, and innovation.

National recognition

Among 50 competitors—from 350 original submissions—The Valparaiso Creative District Plan earned the city a place as one of 15 semi-finalists in the America’s Best Communities competition.

Valparaiso will join the other 14 semi-finalists in Durham, North Carolina in late April 2016 to pitch the Creative District Plan to a panel of judges at the America’s Best Communities Summit. Of the 15 competing, 8 will be chosen during that event to receive $100,000 in grant money to begin implementing their plan over the following 11 months and will compete again for the grand prizes of up to 3 million dollars.


2016 Outstanding Plan Award 
Indiana Chapter of the American Planning Association


Project Type: district plan
Community Type: small city
Client: City of Valparaiso
Services: visioning, area planning, public engagement, social media and online engagement