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Metro Newsroom

City Selected to Join Urban Sustainability Accelerator

Tuesday April 23, 2013

Louisville was selected to be one of the first group of cities to participate in Portland State University’s Urban Sustainability Accelerator Program. Louisville Metro’s Office of Sustainability will manage a team of five staff that includes representatives from the Advanced Planning Team, Air Pollution Control District and Metropolitan Sewer District to implement sustainability projects in Louisville.

“Receiving technical expertise and moving plans to reality is always a huge win for our community,” Mayor Fischer said. “This program, and the help of Portland State University, will provide necessary support to help meet our community’s sustainability goals.”

The Urban Sustainability Accelerator (USA) is a new program created to help mid-sized and smaller urban areas implement sustainability projects, to move their proposals from a concept, a plan policy or an agenda item, to reality.

Louisville’s focus will be on green infrastructure initiatives to address several sustainability challenges, including managing storm water to address combined sewer overflow issues and mitigating the urban heat island effect, which threatens public health and the area’s air quality.

The city will target the SoBro area which is a transitional neighborhood with many historic buildings and the university district, and is an area of opportunity between downtown and Old Louisville.

The study area also includes Fourth Street, which is being studied by the Urban Land Institute’s Rose Center in partnership with the city. ULI is working with Louisville to further the development and connectivity along Fourth Street, and early recommendations center around the need to spur residential development in SoBro and jump start transit connectivity, both of which align with the intent of the Urban Sustainability Accelerator.

Louisville’s project team will draw on the expertise from the Portland, Ore. region from individuals who have tackled similar green infrastructure projects and benefit from experts in the other cities in the group.

"These issues are central to the sustainability and livability of Louisville’s urban core, as well as areas of future development,” said director of Office of Sustainability, Maria Koetter. “This effort will dovetail perfectly with the city’s Sustainability Plan which will include green infrastructure incentive programs and other similar projects.”

Louisville will join other teams from Waco, Texas, Portland, Maine, the Sacramento Council of Governments and its member communities, Wichita, Kansas and El Paso Texas, to receive continuing support from the Spring 2013 to July, 2014. The cities’ sustainability projects have some common themes including of urban redevelopment and infill, green infrastructure investments, historic preservation and promoting transportation choices.

USA Director Robert Liberty commented, “Working with Louisville is especially appealing because it is a river city like Portland, and shares some key values; the importance of a clean river at the heart of the city and strong neighborhoods that are greener and cooler, especially as our climate changes.”

The Urban Sustainability Accelerator is made possible through support of Portland State University’s Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, The Institute for Sustainable Solutions and a grant from the Summit Foundation.

For more information on the city projects or to learn more about this program, please visit or contact Urban Sustainability Accelerator Director Robert Liberty at