FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the Indianapolis Monument Circle Idea Competition?
The Monument Circle Idea Competition was established to bring ideas and inspire the community to envision Monument Circle’s future. The juried international idea competition launches in March 2011 with adjudication in May and public exhibit and input in June. These ideas will be considered to inform future planning and uses for Monument Circle. It is not intended than any of the submissions would be developed as submitted. The Monument Circle Idea Competition is not limited to design. Ideas about programming, land use and activities are encouraged. It is not the intent of the Competition to permanently remove vehicular traffic from Monument Circle.

Why Monument Circle?
Monument Circle is the state’s most recognizable and visible public space, a sight and destination recognized around the world. Monument Circle is, in fact, why Indianapolis is sometimes known as “The Circle City.” Often referred to locally as simply the “Circle,” it lies at the heart of our state, city and Downtown. Monument Circle is where we gather to celebrate, commemorate and show our guests who and what we are. As an event city of ever-growing stature, Indianapolis is a true host to visitors from around the country and, increasingly, the world. For these reasons and more, Monument Circle is an increasingly important destination and unique public space.
At its center is the century-old Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument. Important sites and architecture, spanning eras, generations and styles, surround the monument, including cultural and religious institutions, hotels and businesses. Here you’ll find everything from a world-class symphony orchestra and one of Indianapolis’ oldest churches, to headquarters for world corporate leaders in health insurance, broadcast, finance, technology and utilities. The streetscape currently combines public art, fountains, trees, plantings, cafes and shops to welcome pedestrians while traffic flowing around the Circle adds energy and access to the experience. Monument Circle is multi-functional and accessible to vehicular, pedestrian, bicycle and even horse drawn carriage traffic. From time to time, vehicular traffic is restricted to accommodate temporary special events.

Why is an idea competition being conducted?
As a community, it is important that we envision how we want to make this great space even greater, plan how we want to use this space in the future and address deteriorating infrastructure around the Circle.

The Monument Circle Idea Competition was established to bring ideas and inspire the community to envision Monument Circle’s future. The juried international idea competition launches in March 2011 with adjudication in May and public exhibit and input in June. These ideas will be considered to inform future planning and uses for Monument Circle. It is not intended that any of the submissions would be developed as submitted. The Monument Circle Idea Competition is not limited to design. Ideas about programming, land use and activities are encouraged. It is not the intent to permanently remove vehicular traffic from Monument Circle.

What’s wrong with Monument Circle?
The physical condition of the area that makes up Monument Circle is deteriorating and must be repaired. The City of Indianapolis commissioned a scoping study to document the area’s current conditions, traffic and uses and develop preliminary concepts to maximize an already extraordinary space. The Monument Circle Idea Competition intends to generate ideas and inspire community thinking about Monument Circle’s future.

Who is doing a scoping study?
Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW) retained the team of Woolpert, Browning Day Mullins Deirdorf Architects and Eden Collaborative to conduct a scoping study as the first step of a longer planning and design process to position Monument Circle for the next 20-30 years.   This study assesses infrastructure, traffic and other key conditions. The study is currently underway.

Whose idea was an idea competition?
Indianapolis hosted the CEOs for Cities Livability Challenge in October 2010. The visiting team of national design experts echoed what so many local leaders have expressed…Monument Circle is extraordinary and merits maximum attention, creativity and vision.    They challenged Indianapolis to host the Monument Circle Idea Competition.

Where has this been done before?
The Design Trust for Public Space hosted a similar competition for Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, New York.

Does this mean Monument Circle will be closed to vehicular traffic in the future?
There is no plan to permanently remove vehicular traffic from Monument Circle.

Who is in charge of the Idea Competition?
The Monument Circle Idea Competition is overseen by an Advisory Council. Co-chairs include Governor Mitch Daniels, Mayor Greg Ballard, Central Indiana Community Foundation president Brian Payne and Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. president Tamara Zahn. The Monument Circle Idea Competition Advisory Council is a consortium representing Monument Circle property and business owners, residents, civic organizations, design and planning professionals and event organizers has been established to oversee the competition and extend outreach and engagement. Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. will facilitate the Idea Competition.

Who is paying for the Idea Competition?
The Monument Circle Idea Competition is a project of Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. and is funded from private donations including the Central Indiana Community Foundation. No state or city taxpayer funds are being used for the Idea Competition.

How can I participate?
There are three ways to participate:

  • Submit a formal entry to the Idea Competition. Create an account by clicking on the Entry Application menu option.
  • Provide public feedback sharing your ideas informally at blog.monumentcircleidea.com. We want your comments! Visit our blog and let us know what you think.
  • Visit the Public Exhibit of Ideas at Monument Circle, June 17 – 26 and vote for the People’s Choice Award.

Who is invited to submit ideas to the Monument Circle Idea Competition?
Anyone is invited to submit ideas. Idea competitions like this generally attract participation from design students and professionals from around the world; however, any member of the public is invited to assemble a team with the skills to submit an entry. A $30 entry fee and four images are required.

How do I submit my idea into the Monument Circle Idea Competition?
Follow the entry process outlined on the website in the Competition OverviewClick here to create an account.

Can I enter as part of a team?
Yes. Professionals and students often work in teams comprised of different areas of expertise to submit a formal entry.

Can I offer my ideas even though I am not going to officially enter?
Provide public feedback sharing your ideas informally at blog.monumentcircleidea.com.
We want your comments! Visit our blog and let us know what you think.

Who is judging the Idea Competition?
An esteemed panel of judges representing local, national and international experience across a wide spectrum of community, design and urban planning disciplines has been assembled. Juror bios can be found on the Jurors page. All entries will be judged anonymously using consistent criteria.

What are the judging criteria?
Ideas will be judged on five key criteria developed specifically for Monument Circle: Does the idea make Monument Circle more significant; welcoming; and engaging; is the idea aspirational and actionable; and is the idea sustainable? Judges are allotted 5 points, with a scale of 0 to 5, for each criteria. In addition, judges will have up to 5 additional points that can be used for overall impression. Entries will be judged anonymously. Guiding principles developed through research and stakeholder interviews will provide additional context. Complete criteria information is available on the Judging Criteria page.

Why are non-local people judging a competition that impacts Indianapolis?
A panel of qualified experts with both local and international experience has been assembled to provide a wide range of expertise, perspective and creativity. This panel will use criteria for judging that has been authored by local citizens. Visit the Jurors page for more information about the jurors and the judging criteria.

How many winners will there be?
Up to 20 ideas receiving the top scores will be exhibited on Monument Circle in June. The three highest scored ideas will be awarded first, second and third prize respectively. A People’s Choice winner will be selected by public vote during the exhibit on Monument Circle in June. Winning ideas – and all submittals – will help to formulate a community vision and preliminary concepts developed by the Scoping Team to maximize the future of Monument Circle for the next 20 to 30 years. There is no guarantee that any of the ideas submitted will be used as submitted.

Will people get paid to submit ideas?
Four entries will be awarded monetary prizes – First Place $5,000, Second Place $2,000, Third Place $1,000 and People’s Choice Award $1,000.

How is the People’s Choice Award decided?
Up to 20 top finalists will be exhibited on Monument Circle June 17 – 26, 2011. The public will be encouraged to view the finalists and vote via text for their top choice.

Is there a fee to enter?
All entries will be charged a $30 entry submission fee to be eligible to participate in judging. The fee is paid via PayPal™.

When will the Idea Competition take place?
March 2011

  • MCIC launches to the public – March 7
  • MCIC entry opens – March 7

April 2011

  • MCIC entry submittal closes – April 15

May 2011

  • Judging in Indianapolis to select award winners

June 2011

  • Public Exhibit on Monument Circle – June 17 – June 26
  • People’s Choice voting & awards announcement

July – August 2011

  • Competition documented and published

How do I get information to enter?
Complete information is available on the Monument Circle Area page on this web site. Information about Indianapolis, Downtown, Monument Circle, guiding principles, judges, criteria, business and citizen input, entry requirements and timeline is available online.

How do I enter?
All entries must be submitted digitally through the web site. Visit the Competition Overview page for details. Click here to create an account.

What will be done with the ideas that are submitted?
Ideas submitted to the Idea Competition will be used to help inspire the community vision and inform the Scoping Team’s preliminary concepts for the future of Monument Circle. None of the ideas submitted or selected will be guaranteed to be built or implemented.

Do competition partners reserve the right to alter winning ideas?
Ideas submitted for the Idea Competition become the property of Indianapolis Downtown, Inc.; which reserves the rights to reproduce the ideas for public exhibit, competition documentation and other related uses in perpetuity. Top finalists will be included in a summer, 2011 exhibition.

Will the ideas actually be built?
There is no guarantee that any of the ideas will be used as submitted.

Is there funding to build any of these ideas?
There is no funding currently in place to build any of the submitted ideas or to execute any conceptual plans the Scoping Team proposes. The competition will be used to generate additional funding for future planning, design and implementation phases.

Is an idea competition the same as a design competition?
A design competition requires professional design submissions. An idea competition requires visuals and text to describe ideas. The Monument Circle Idea Competition is not limited to design. Ideas about programming, land use and activities are encouraged.

How does this tie in with current Monument Circle construction work?
During the summer of 2011, the City of Indianapolis will perform necessary repairs in the red bricked areas of Monument Circle to assure public safety and handicapped accessibility. The State of Indiana will perform necessary repairs on the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

Is the Monument Circle Idea Competition connected with the 2012 Super Bowl?
No. Planning and funding for Monument Circle’s future will extend beyond February 2012 Super Bowl activities.