The Urban Design Studio is ramping up efforts to explore how the design and function of downtown can improve human and environmental health. We are focusing efforts on understanding current conditions to lay a solid foundation for future projects and research.

Speaking of foundations, tomorrow morning (July 21, 2022) we will be utilizing ground penetrating radar at Founders Square to see what lies beneath. This square was once the site of an interesting structure that housed Louisville’s visitor center. In the past, it was fairly common practice to demolish a building and dump much of the debris into its basement. Working with our partners at Louisville Metro, we have not been able to find any documentation on what is under the park, so we are going to try to find out with some interesting technology.

Founders Square mid-century modern visitor's center (Image Source)

Why are we looking at what is under Founders Square? Because we are exploring ways to bring more intense vegetation to downtown streets and corridors as well as existing green spaces. Current research at the University of Louisville’s Envirome Institute and other institutions around the world are finding that increasing vegetation and integrating nature into our urban environments can bring incredible benefits. These important ecosystem services nature brings are becoming increasingly important not only to improve the health and function of cities, but to create the spaces and places that people enjoy and become attached to.

This is a daunting yet exciting time to be rethinking our cities. Over the past six months we have been fortunate to meet so many people who are looking to, or actively are working to make Louisville a better city. The more we work together the better. The more we share information and efforts the better. If you are downtown tomorrow morning and looking to get involved or just interested in learning more, stroll past Founders Square, we will likely be out there exploring what kind of foundations we are dealing with as we build a strong foundation for future improvement.

As we continue to build out baseline data about the current state of our built and natural environment, we will be rolling out a number of initiatives and efforts to share what we learn. Stay tuned for what we find.