National award for NIRPC e-commerce study and recommendations for post-pandemic NWI business

June 16, 2021



NEWS FROM NIRPC – June 16, 2021 


Lucas Ecklund-Baker, Communications Specialist 
(219) 243-5945; lecklundbaker@nirpc.org 

National award for NIRPC e-commerce study and recommendations for post-pandemic NWI business 

National urban planning council recognizes study on shifting patterns in retail, freight, and commercial land development in Northwest Indiana business 

PORTAGE, INDIANA–Northwest Indiana gained national attention for shifts in commerce due to the pandemic and its developing e-commerce sector. A national regional planning association has awarded NIRPC for its study and recommendations for regional business development and the impacts on region highways, shopping malls, commercial real estate, and last-mile delivery.   

The 2020 study, “E-Commerce in Northwest Indiana,” by urban planners at the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC), found long-term implications for shifting commerce patterns. The report offers recommendations for municipalities and businesses to allocate resources, to plan land use and zoning for changing economic needs, and to incorporate best practices to adjust to increased last-mile delivery and freight traffic. The report is available at: https://nirpc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/E-Commerce-in-NWI.pdf

NIRPC is one of seven recipients to receive a NARC 2021 Achievement Award from the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC). Award winners were announced Wednesday, June 16, 2021, during NARC’s annual conference, which was held virtually from Atlanta, Georgia. The NIRPC study, released last Fall, details shifting trends, in addition to recommendations for businesses planning to develop in Northwest Indiana and for region businesses adjusting to a post-pandemic economy. 

NIRPC staff members Eman Ibrahim, Peter Kimball, Kevin Polette, and Scott Weber authored the report. “The trends we see here, in Northwest Indiana, are happening all over the country. It’s very satisfying to see the insight and lessons we’ve learned are useful to many regions,” Ibrahim said.  

“The e-commerce study was a labor of love—we analyzed a great deal of data. It’s an honor to see it recognized by our national peers,” said Weber. 

NARC Achievement awards are presented each year to recognize excellence in programs and services of regional councils and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) across the country. Applicant projects must meet several criteria:  

  • Significance of the program/project in promoting and exemplifying regional cooperation and coordination. 
  • Significance of the program/project in promoting and exemplifying regional excellence. 
  • Innovation in concept or approach. 
  • Impact of program/project on region. 
  • Involvement of private and civic sectors. 
  • Originality, duplicability, and quality of the program/project. 

“I am so pleased and so proud as President of NARC to be able to celebrate these achievements in regional cooperation, excellence, and leadership,” said NARC President Bob Cannon, Supervisor of Clinton Township, Michigan and former chair of Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.  

The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) serves as the national voice for regions by advocating for regional cooperation as the most effective way to address a variety of community planning and development opportunities and issues. 

About NIRPC 

NIRPC is the Metropolitan Planning Organization and Council of Governments for Lake, Porter, and La Porte counties in Northwest Indiana. Working collaboratively across the region, NIRPC coordinates regional comprehensive planning and programming for transportation, economic development, and environmental policy. 


Contact Eli Spang at eli.spang@narc.org with questions regarding the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC). 

NIRPC Report, “E-Commerce in Northwest Indiana”: https://nirpc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/E-Commerce-in-NWI.pdf 

NIRPC “E-Commerce in Northwest Indiana” release announcement: https://nirpc.org/2020/11/25/pandemic-accelerates-impacts-of-online-shopping-in-northwest-indiana-e-commerce-report-released/ 

About the NARC Awards: https://narc.org/about/awards/ 

Last modified: June 16, 2021