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Immigration and "a five-continent food court"

The annual World of Difference multicultural parade is part of a week-long effort to attract new customers to the restaurants in the Lafayette Square community.

Lafayette Square Coalition

Like many communities throughout the U.S., neighborhoods in Indianapolis have been transformed by immigration, and this growing diversity is, in turn, transforming adjacent business districts. 

John Edge of the New York Times explores how ethnic restaurants (and other ethnic businesses) are moving into vacated storefronts in Indy’s older business districts, and how one organization, The Lafayette Square Area Coalition, “plans to reframe the area as an international marketplace, with thematic gateways and transportation facilities.” 

The story begins: "Honey Creek Plaza, in a neighborhood with a suburban character inside this city’s northwest border, is a five-continent food court posing as a shopping center. Park in the blacktop lot that separates the strip mall from West 38th Street, and you can walk to restaurants serving food from South America, North America, Europe, Africa and Asia."

Sara Van Slambrook of Indianapolis LISC described how the Lafayette Square Area Coalition is capitalizing on the diverse, multi-cultural nature of the business district. 

"They have worked with the surrounding neighborhood to create a plan that uses this growing diversity as a primary asset to recruit new patrons and businesses to the district," Van Slambrook explained. 

"They also host an annual [World of Difference] multicultural parade that coincides with Taste the Difference --- a week-long effort to attract new customers to the restaurants through special coupons and other promotions."

Posted in Indianapolis, Commercial and Economic Development, Thinking Out Loud

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