Project Methodology

The Soul of Indiana project seeks to provide a visual inventory of many small towns, crossroads, hamlets, and villages in the state of Indiana. While it is beyond the scope of this project to visit every single small town or village, the project attempts to provide a comprehensive visual inventory in each county and geographic area within the state.

Following a modified arrangement based on Konstantinos Apostolos Doxiadis’ hierarchical settlement system (see Ekistics, Doxiadis, 1968) and Randall Arendt’s 2004 Crossroads, Hamlet, Village, Town: Design Characteristics of Traditional Neighborhoods, Old and New, project photographers researched communities across the state of Indiana, county by county, starting with the East Central and Southeast geographic areas of the state to determine the following:

  • Crossroads: a few dwellings at the intersection of two major roads.
  • Hamlets: settlements with less than 100 residents, few commercial, structures if any.
  • Villages: settlements with a population from 100 to 1000. Limited commercial structures.
  • Towns: settlements with populations ranging from 1000 to 20,000. Multiple commercial structures.
  • Large Towns: settlements with populations ranging from 20,000-100,000. Multiple commercial structures and more diverse economies.
  • City: settlements with populations ranging from 100,000 - 300,000. Diverse economic activity.
  • Large City: settlements with populations ranging from 600,000 - 1,000,000. Diverse economic activity.

Doxiadis also defines communities with larger populations including: metropolis, conurbation, megalopolis, and a theoretical ecumenpolis. It is important to note that no city in Indiana has a population over 1,000,000. Indianapolis, the largest city in Indiana, has a population of 843,000 (2013 Census estimate), rendering it a ‘large city’ in settlement hierarchy. If the entire Indianapolis metropolitan area is taken into consideration, the population was just over 200,000,000 in 2012, obtaining a metropolitan status.

This ‘small towns’ iteration of the Soul of Indiana project focused only on crossroads, hamlets, villages and towns. For a visual survey of large towns and cities, please see the companion project Indiana’s Courthouse Squares.