SoBro Louisville and NuLu are serving as pilots for an EcoDistricts program in Louisville. EcoDistricts – or neighborhoods that commit to implementing and maintaining sustainable building and infrastructure projects – promote neighborhood-scale sustainability practices in an effort to accelerate efforts citywide. The Office of Advanced Planning and Sustainability is partnering with community members from both neighborhood groups to explore what an EcoDistrict looks like in Louisville.
SoBro Louisville is an unofficial district in Louisville located South of Broadway, generally defined by I-65 and 9th Street east to west, and Broadway and Kentucky Street north to south.
In 2013, Louisville was accepted in the first cohort of the Urban Sustainability Accelerator, sponsored by Portland State University. The program, which brings together small to mid-sized cities from across the country that are managing sustainability projects, provides expert advice from individuals with decades of sustainability expertise. The Louisville project focused on SoBro.
In 2014, nearly 50 SoBro Louisville community leaders voted to use the following goals as guidance going forward:
- Become a vibrant district that is distinguished from other neighborhoods by its commitment to sustainability principles.
- Foster a culture whereby sustainability elements are embedded in investments and daily activities and in the goals of increased economic opportunity for SoBro’s residents, students and organizations.
- Serve as a model for future neighborhood efforts that foster social equity and economic opportunity through collaborations with citizens and public, private and nonprofit organizations.
Green Practices in SoBro
- SoBro features bikes lanes on Kentucky, Breckinridge, 2nd, 3rd, and 7th Streets. Sharrows – arrows painted on the road indicating that the roadway is meant to be shared by bicycles and vehicles – are located on 6th, York and many other streets in SoBro.
- SoBro is one of the main TARC thoroughfares.
- The free Trolley goes through SoBro.
- The Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) has partnered with several organizations and businesses to install bioswales and other green infrastructure projects. Project partners have included Spalding University, Flavorman, Family and Children’s Place and Downtown Scholar House.
Idle Free Neighborhood
In June 2014, SoBro Louisville became the city’s first Idle Free Neighborhood, adopting the following pledge:The businesses, organizations, institutions and residents of SoBro Louisville pledge to improve air quality for the benefit of the community's health by becoming Louisville's first Idle Free Neighborhood. In doing so, SoBro Louisville will spread the Idle Free message to its residents, visitors, workers and students.
- Jefferson Community and Technical College hosts an associate’s in Sustainability. It’s a 2 + 2 degree in partnership with the University of Louisville.
- Jefferson Community and Technical College has installed two garden plots in SoBro (1st and Jacob, and another along 2nd Street).
- SoBro is home to Off Broadway Farms on 2nd Street.
Nulu is the colloquial name for the East Market District, an unofficial district situated along Market Street between Baxter Avenue and I-65 east to west, and Main Street to Liberty Street north to south. Phase I of the Nulu EcoDistrict project will also include Market and Main Streets from I-65 to 2nd Street. Phase II will add the area from Clay Street to I-65 east to west, and Liberty Street to East Broadway north to south.
The Nulu EcoDistricts initiative began through a series of stakeholder engagement meetings in the fall of 2012 and spring of 2013 that identified substantial community interests in sustainability. Midwest Clean Energy Enterprise, LLC (MCEE) has been selected to lead the public/private partnership of the pilot demonstration project. Participating groups include: NuLu Business Association, Office of Advanced Planning and Sustainability, Louisville Downtown Partnership, University of Louisville, Nucleus Innovation Parks, University of Louisville Urban Design Studio, Partnership for a Green City, Louisville Sustainability Council and City Properties Group.
As part of its EcoDistricts initiative, Nulu is exploring ways to:
- Expand green infrastructure practices;
- Help mitigate Louisville’s urban heat island effect; and
- Pilot shared energy models.