Bloomington Indiana: A Sustainable Living Community

Learn about Bloomington Indiana, a sustainable living community. The residents of Bloomington know how to keep their city growing in sustainable ways. With a strong focus on outdoor recreation, backyard wildlife and music, this is Midwest living at its finest.

| August/September 2007

  • Bloomington’s Monroe County Courthouse.
    Bloomington’s Monroe County Courthouse.
    Photo by BMCCVB
  • A view of downtown Bloomington from Indiana University.
    A view of downtown Bloomington from Indiana University.
    Photo by BMCCVB

  • Bloomington’s Monroe County Courthouse.
  • A view of downtown Bloomington from Indiana University.

A great place to live you've never heard of is Bloomington Indiana, a sustainable living community. Bloomington features great outdoor recreation, backyard wildlife and music situated in the heart of the Midwest.

Bloomington Indiana: A Sustainable Living Community

Bloomington residents describe their hometown with words such as “homey,” “affordable” and “politically active.” Developer Matt Press, who went away for college but ultimately returned, says, “This town spoke to me. I can think of few other places that combine culture, nature and community the way Bloomington does.”

You can feel what he’s talking about as you walk through the 100-vendor farmers market that sits in the shadow of the Monroe County Courthouse that towers over the town square.

There’s civic energy here — an unusually strong sense of pride and participation that asserted itself several decades ago when the downtown area had numerous vacancies and buildings were in disrepair. City leaders wanted to create a place where their children would stay and live — a place that would attract sustainable, job-producing businesses. Since then, the city has refurbished or constructed about 200 buildings, breathing new life into the city’s core.

The signature downtown event is the annual Lotus World Music and Arts Festival, a two-day show that rocks Bloomington every fall. Musicians from all over the world offer more than 80 performances in numerous venues. Plus, one of America’s most respected music schools is at Indiana University, and with performances by local and touring bands, you can find music every day of the year — often for free.

Bikes are another icon of daily life in Bloomington. At the Community Bicycle Project headquarters, “gently used” bikes are donated, rebuilt and resold ready for the road. Volunteers “earn a bike” by working for the project, at the same time learning the valuable skills of bicycle repair and maintenance.

9/30/2007 5:55:56 PM

I have grown up in Bloomington and still think of it as one of the best places in Indiana. The people there are consistently welcoming and I have always seen the town as very diverse. Going through high school I have yet to see a week where nothing it going on. The thing about Bloomington is that yes there are two Bloomingtons, the college and the town but they are not so separate. Instead they blend together, and the university is part of the reason for why Bloomington is so diverse. The town consistently votes democrat and is also very politically involved. The Lotus festival does draw people from all over, but there are other things such as the IU Auditorium, which draws Broadway performances, and also the 4th Street Festival that draws artists from all over the country. Though I am now going away for High School I always come back a few times a month to have a relaxing weekend, get breakfast at The Village Deli, and play checkers at People’s Park. Bloomington is a place everyone should visit just to have the experience.

9/16/2007 12:10:20 PM

The two of us live here in Bloomington; it is a great place to live. However, it's interesting how the large amount of corporate and big businesses surrounding campus and Kirkwood Avenue was glossed over in the article. It's difficult to understand what is so sustainable about corporate coffee shops and fast food restaurants that serve up their items in styrofoam, paper, and plastic, which fill dumpster after dumpster daily. These businesses are rapidly emanating from the Sample Gates and advancing along our downtown streets. We agree that there are many options for locally minded consumers throughout Bloomington, but WE have a long way to go.

8/1/2007 9:21:00 PM

I lived in Bloomington for 6 years. It is a wonderful community teeming with intellectual activity. The arts and culture opportunities in Bloomington are significant, including the wonderful performances associated with IU's Jacobs School of Music, which is one of the best in the nation. Bloomington is a great college town in which diversity--in all of its forms--is welcomed and embraced. I didn't know what to expect when I first moved to Bloomington, but I quickly fell in love with it. I am able to periodically visit and have been impressed with the continued progress of the city and IU. I am hopeful that, upon retirement, I am able to return to live. Thank you for the very nice recognition that your magazine has provided.

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