To look upon Indianapolis’s built environment is to see a city not run by people or their government, but by uninspired, profit-hungry “developers” (in quotes because “develop” implies a maturation or advancement, and most real-estate developers move in the opposite direction; a regression). Indianapolis was once at the cutting edge of architecture, boasting a signature downtown look and feel while also allowing idiosyncratic, charming neighborhoods to develop their own styles. No longer the case. Most of the new builds in the downtown area look generic and feel flimsy. It is as if our depressing penchant for chain restaurants has spilled over into our architectural language. Developers and the architects they employ cannot be trusted to improve the situation. Developers have every incentive to (i) deliver bland ideas and (ii) implement them poorly. Their designs play to the lowest common denominator, their builds are meant to just meet our already inadequate building code, and their legal obligation—even when subsidized by public monies—is to yield personal rather than social profit. As such, the city needs a board or agency to vet architectural proposals on a variety of criteria, including design and aesthetic merit, environmental sustainability, social sensibility, and so forth. Projects failing to meet these and other publicly-minded, forward-thinking criteria should not be allowed to move forward. Sometimes no development is better than false “development”, regardless of the purported economic ramifications. Better yet, the aforementioned public agency or group of civic-minded architects should actively encourage good design, helping citizens determine what they want and need in their city and ensuring that those needs are addressed through good design.