Vision Louisville is a creative process inspiring big ideas for the future with roots in Louisville’s unique culture. The initiative is a catalyst for making Louisville a Connected, Creative, Competitive and Compassionate city. Get involved and help transform big ideas into great places.

About Vision Louisville

Vision Louisville is a community process to guide the future look, feel and flow of Louisville in the next 25 years. As one of hundreds of changing American cities, Louisville has an opportunity to learn from its past and present to shape its future. The Vision creates a strategic framework of major assets, values, goals and projects that will accelerate transformative change in the built environment throughout the community.

Phase 3 Begins

In the Spring of 2013, Louisvillians generated over 80,000 ideas as part of Phase 2 . During Phase 3, these ideas are being prioritized and explored in greater detail to develop specific projects. Please visit our Projects Section to view all of the projects and initiatives identified during Phase 2. If you would like to get involved, please contact us!

Transforming Louisville

Once implementation steps are developed, the Vision Team will begin to seek partners for transforming the vision into reality. The projects are aimed at accelerating investment in Louisville’s built environment and creating healthy and complete neighborhoods. We need your help to bring the projects to life.

Meet the Vision Louisville Team

The Vision Louisville Team works daily to refine projects and analyze their impacts on the community. Team members work to coordinate other city planning efforts with the Vision. Other projects being spearheaded by the Vision Team include neighborhood and corridor plans, Louisville Loop, CycLOUvia, ULI Rose Fellowship (4th Street Corridor) and Move Louisville.


Jeff O'BrienProject Manager • 502-574-1343

Gretchen MillikenDeputy Director of Advanced Planning • 502-574-1358

Kendal BakerPlanning Supervisor • 502-574-5822

Patti ClareDirector of Multi-Modal Transportation • 502-574-2867

Tommy ClarkUrban Planner • 502-574-6822

Mike KingUrban Planner • 502-574-0032

Steve SizemoreSenior Planner • 502-574-8272

VL Blog

Assets, Values & Goals

Vision Louisville is a framework for accelerating transformative investment in the city’s built environment.  Ultimately, this transformation will take place through implementation of policy and physical projects.  But these projects have to be rooted in the community’s consensus for improvement.  Vision Louisville defined a set of Assets, Values and Goals as a crucial component to identifying projects that can build upon the city’s great bones. 

Assets are the physical attributes of Louisville.  Assets are made up of diverse features - both physical and social - that lay an authentic foundation on which to build the success of the city.  The Ohio River, the Olmsted Parks, great neighborhoods, and our economic advantages are some of Louisville’s assets.

Values unify Louisville’s citizens.  They are the shared principles around what it means to live, work and experience Louisville.  Values span social, cultural and economic divides.  The values include compassionate, safe, integrative, connected, educated, entrepreneurial, healthy, sustainable, authentic and transparent.

Goals are long-term visions for Louisville. They are solid ideas about where Louisville should stand in 25 years.  Goals set the bar and are holistic.  Vision Louisville presents seven goals - based on the seven focus teams formed to collect input during Phase 2.  The goals are:

  • City Wide Connectivity
  • Creativity out of Diversity
  • Cultivate an Economic Garden
  • Leader in Sustainable Energy Practices
  • Leader in Healthy and Active Living
  • Complete Neighborhoods
  • Visible and Authentic

Assets, Values and Goals all lead to the projects Vision Louisville presents.  The projects, which can be found on our projects page, are divided in to Short-Term, Mid-Term and Long-Term.  Short-Term projects are things that Louisville is doing or can do in the next five years.  Mid-Term projects are those that will be completed in the next 5-10 years.  Finally, Long-Term projects have a time horizon of 10-25 or more years.

Take a look at Projects page for more information.

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Re-Imagine the Floodwall

Project: Re-imagine the Floodwall

Implementation Time: Short-term (<5 years)

Vision Louisville Goal(s) Addressed: Creativity out of Diversity: Education, Culture and Arts & Building Complete Neighborhoods: Community Development

Background Information:

The Louisville Floodwall provides protection from the Ohio River, but it also creates a physical barrier and which is both intimidating and unattractive.  Re-imagining the floodwall as a functional piece of public art can transform a barrier into a gathering place.  Creating art installations on and along the floodwall can unite neighborhoods and create a sense of identity.  The project lends itself to local artists and community organizations. 

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Complete the Louisville Loop

Project: Complete the Louisville Loop

Implementation Time: Mid-term (5-10 years)

Vision Louisville Goal(s) Addressed: Leader in Healthy and Active Living: Healthy Activities and recreation & Citywide Connectivity

Background Information:

The Louisville Loop is an impressive recreational trail that will encompass all of Jefferson County.  Completing the Loop is an important step to providing access to healthy activities for all of Louisville’s residents.  In addition to completion of the outer loop, it is important to provide a series of connections within neighborhoods.

Activity hubs, another Vision Louisville project, present an opportunity for connecting the city’s neighborhoods to the Loop.   By creating a more complete system of paths, the Louisville Loop can open up new options for recreation for residents.  More information on the Louisville Loop can be found here.

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Bicycle Network

Project: Bike Network

Implementation Time: Short-term (<5 years)

Vision Louisville Goal(s) Addressed:

City Wide Connectivity: Alternative means of transportation & Leader in Health and Active Living: Active Lifestyles, recreation and clean air

Background Information:

A complete bicycle network is critical for a multi-modal transportation system.  Bicycling is the fastest growing mode of transportation according to the Urban Land Institute.  Bicycles not only provide a cleaner, cheaper method of transportation, but they also encourage active lifestyles.  Bicycling should be an optional transportation mode to make trips to work and other destinations in addition to recreation.  Investments in Louisville’s bike network should aspire to making it the safest and easiest form of transportation to use.

Bike network improvements include a series of on-street improvements (e.g., lane striping, signal improvements and bike lane buffers) and off-street improvements (e.g., multi-use paths, shower facilities and bicycle lockers).  These infrastructure improvements promote cycling and often slow down vehicular traffic, which can lead to fewer accidents involving pedestrians an vehicles.

According to recent Urban Land Institute research, there is a direct relationship between health outcomes, specifically obesity, and increasing the number of trips made by bicycles and walking.  In addition to improved health, recent studies from New York City’s Department of Transportation indicate that bicycle-friendly streets promote economic development and there is evidence that commercial vacancies decrease while consumer spending increases in areas with a strong bicycle infrastructure.

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World City

Project: World City

Implementation Time: Long-term (10-25 years)

Vision Louisville Goal(s) Addressed: Cultivate an Economic Garden

Background Information:

Louisville was built on moving goods.  Traditionally, the city’s position on the Fall of the Ohio made it an important hub for moving goods on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.  Its location in the center of the United States continue to make Louisville an ideal logistics hub.  Logistics played a large part in helping the city’s economy rebound from the recent economic downturn.  Can more be done?

Transforming the business and industrial areas around the airport into innovative work places is important to leveraging Louisville’s position as a logistics hub and creating more 21st Century jobs.  Jobs in advanced manufacturing and e-commerce could help grow opportunity.  Creating an economic opportunity zone will send a strong messages that Louisville is committed to attracting top talent. 

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River Road Extension

Project: River Road Extension/Waterfront Park Phase IV

Implementation Time: Mid-term (5-10 years)

Vision Louisville Goal(s) Addressed: City Wide Connectivity: Connecting Neighborhoods & Leader in Health and Active Living: Waterfront Recreation Corridor

Background Information:

In 1986, Louisville embarked on a great journey to transform its industrial waterfront to a great urban park.  That goal was achieved in 1999 when the first phase of Waterfront Park was opened.  The park continues to grow, most recently with the opening of the Big Four Bridge in 2013. 

Now is the time to expand the waterfront recreation corridor.  The project would extend River Road and create new public waterfront west of downtown.  Not only would the extension of River Road and an expanded Waterfront Park provide a new amenity, these projects would also promote community connectivity and bring us closer to our goal of 15 miles of continuous public waterfront. 

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Waste to Energy

Project: Waste to Energy/Alternative Energy Sources

Implementation Time: Long-term (10-25+ years)

Vision Louisville Goal(s) Addressed: Sustainable Energy Practices: Alternative energy sources & Cultivate an Economic Garden: Create green industry jobs

Background Information:

Alternative energy sources are important to making a more sustainable Louisville.  Two options for the city could be a waste to energy plant that would capture a portion of Louisville’s waste stream and produce energy.  The plant would provide an alternative to fossil fuels as well as diverting waste from area landfills.  In addition to providing an alternative energy source, a waste to energy plant could be used as an economic development tool.

Solar fields could also provide an alternative source of power for Louisville.  Solar power provides a clean, renewable energy source.  While homes and commercial buildings can benefit from individual systems, a large-scale solar generation facility would help increase the visibility of alternative sources in Kentucky

While operating a waste to energy plant or solar field and their associated infrastructure would create jobs, a district energy options could also offer lower-cost energy to nearby neighborhoods.  This incentive could spark re-investment in Louisville’s neighborhoods.  A district approach for waste to energy may be more viable than city-wide solutions given the amount of waste Louisville generates.  

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Tree Canopy

Project: Tree Canopy

Implementation Time: Short-term (<5 years)

Vision Louisville Goal(s) Addressed:  Build Complete Neighborhoods: Community Development & Sustainable Energy Practices: Reducing Heat Island, Cleaner Air

Background Information:

Louisville’s tree canopy lags far behind other comparable US cities.  The lack of a robust and healthy tree canopy contributes directly to the urban heat island effect.  Planting the right tree in the right place provides shade and reduces energy costs.  A comprehensive tree canopy assessment will be completed in 2014 to help direct planting efforts.  While Metro is planting trees, additional efforts are necessary to assure no net loss.   The long-term goal in Vision Louisville is to plant perhaps 500,000 trees by 2040 (about 20,000 trees per year). 

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Activity Hubs

Project: Activity Hubs

Implementation Time: Mid-term (5-10 years)

Vision Louisville Goal(s) Addressed: Leader in Healthy and Active Living: Healthy Activities and recreation

Background Information:

Neighborhood activity hubs provide safe and convenient centers for recreational activities.  Activity hubs could occur in existing facilities.  They would promote healthy activity as well as provide crucial links to larger regional recreational opportunities such as the Louisville Loop.

Activity hubs present an opportunity for recreation and education providers to partner and develop places and programs to improve health in Louisville’s neighborhoods.  The recent Greater Louisville Project (GLP) report on health identified disparities between health outcomes between different neighborhoods.  Many of the neighborhoods with poor results have limited access to recreation opportunities.  The GLP report would be used to match the location of activity hubs to neighborhoods with the greatest need.

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Bike Share

Project: Bike Share

Implementation Time: Short-term (<5 years)

Vision Louisville Goal(s) Addressed: City Wide Connectivity: Alternative means of transportation & Leader in Health and Active Living: Active Lifestyles, recreation and clean air

Background Information:

A citywide bike share is an essential component of a complete bicycle network and multi-modal transportation system. Bike shares are most effective at allowing users to complete trips started in cars or on transit – the “last mile.”  Bicycles are rented from one docking station near a parking lot or transit stop and returned to a different docking station (near work or school) when the user completes their trip. Most systems rely on monthly or annual subscriptions and usage fees based on hours of use. 

A successful system promotes active lifestyles and a healthy environment.  If one-quarter of short trips (5 miles or less) were made via bicycles rather than cars, Louisville’s smog-forming pollutants could be reduced by 3 tons per day.  In addition, studies indicate spending 20 minutes on a bicycle not only improves physical health, but it can also have positive impacts on mental health. Bike shares are also an attraction for tourists wanting to experience the city at a more relaxed pace.   Bicycle infrastructure, including bike share programs, lead to economic development such as increased spending at local businesses and increase property values near bike lanes.

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Learn More

Want to see your idea come to life? Stay engaged with Vision Louisville. The Vision Team is committed to implementing the projects that transform big ideas into everyday reality. Several of the ongoing Vision Louisville efforts are linked below along with a forum for discussing how we can make transformative change to our city. As always, you may contact us to get involved in the Vision Louisville effort.

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