All my favorite cities have a common denominator. An existing identity that increases comfort & enjoyment through flexible design. Activities, creativity, & connectivity flourish throughout the year through the local identity & culture.
Louisville, KY has a lot working for it, but I know it can be better. Why can’t Louisville be a city where more people want to move & invest? This can only be achieved if the diverse collective of leadership & public unite to create a network protecting local ideologies.
Louisville is taking steps in this general direction. The city has grown through its uniqueness & will continue to grow if it is nurtured, expanded, & doesn’t become homogenous. Channels not of the contemporary mold, but connectors of residential empowerment leading to a more efficient city.
The denominator is the waterfront. It has the ability to bring energy to communities by creating a close connection between humans & nature by speaking to communities physically & psychologically. According to USA Today, Louisville has the sixth best waterfront in the US. This is a great honor for the city; unfortunately this area is east of the 2nd street bridge, a small fraction of the waterfront available. Numerous areas of underutilized waterfront exist west of the 2nd street bridge creating fragmentation between communities, basically dead zones in communities. This is the area that will truly create a great city.
Proper growth for Louisville can only be achieved, if the originality is kept manifested in new approaches involving several disciplines. Ideas will transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, & relationships, by shaking up our way of thinking. In order for Louisville to compete with other cities, it must develop the waterfront in a manner keeping the essence, distinctiveness, & expression of Louisville. When developing the waterfront, ideas need to focus on Louisville’s residents & not attracting tourism. The city requires uniqueness, not Disneyfication.
Development needs to sway from the habitual mindset of antiquated decisions of the past, which are restrictions for the present. It must not be developed one-dimensionally, but multi-dimensional generating opportunities for all. Unilateral development solely for maximizing monetary gains is not the path. The city needs a multi-lateral development that will pay dividends for city growth.
Waterfront development should be parks, esplanades, & gathering areas, but these areas need to be designed as connective tissue linking to residential & businesses. Too much passive, one-dimensional spatiality puts a damper on the inherent vibrancy of waterfronts. Development must be in a manner that attracts liveliness throughout the year. The waterfront needs multiuse complexes where individuals live, shop, & interact.
Below are examples of what Louisville’s waterfront could resemble.