The Sustainable City Series, established in November of 2007, is a program of public forums designed to raise the community's awareness of sustainable practices. The ultimate goal of the series is to provide a catalyst for moving Louisville and the region towards a model of sustainability.

Each forum in the series focuses on different aspects of sustainable practice and environmental stewardship. Most events are organized in such a way that several speakers with expertise in the topic of focus will have roughly 30 minutes each to present their information followed by a group question-and-answer session. Typical attendance levels have been above 250 people with some of the most recent events close to 300.

Any opinions expressed during the forums are solely those of the presenters and do not necessarily represent those of the Urban Design Studio or sponsors of the event.

FORUM 21: Trees, Cities, and Climate Change

sc21Tuesday, June 5th, 2012
5:30 - 7:00 pm
Glassworks, 815 W Market St, Louisville, KY
Attendees Registered: 286

Various characteristics of urban environments contribute to elevated temperatures in our cities known as the urban heat island effect, with the amount of vegetation being one of the leading factors. Recent studies indicate that not only is Louisville heating up faster than other cities, but also our tree canopy has been in a steady state of decline.

Dr. Stone, Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning and author of the new book The City and the Coming Climate: Climate Change in the Places We Live discussed the effects of climate change on cities and the role that trees can play in reducing the influence extreme heat events can have on our city.

Dr. Brian Stone, Jr. - Associate Professor, School of City and Regional Planning, Georgia Institute of Technology

This event was made possible by the Tree Commission with the generous support of Christina Lee Brown.


    FORUM 20: Creating a Healthy, Vibrant Louisville

    sc20Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
    6:00 pm
    Glassworks, 815 W Market St, Louisville, KY
    Attendees Registered: 290

    Creating a healthy, vibrant city is the key to improving our quality of life, one of the most important elements that will attract and retain the most creative and best educated people in the world.

    In order for our city to rise to the lofty expectionations of our community, we need to not only plan for a vibrant city, but we must act with bold intention and go beyond the benchmarkings of our peer cities and put into action a series of initatives that will make our city an active and attractive place for everyone.

    Internationally renowned livable city advisor Gil Peñalosa led an engaging and inspirational discussion on how Louisville could become a healthy, vibrant city.

    Gil Peñalosa - Executive Director, 8-80 Cities

    This event was made possible with funding from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.


      FORUM 19: Agrarian Urbanism

      sc19Thursday, July 19th, 2011
      6:00 - 7:30 pm
      The Henry Clay, 604 Third Street, Louisville, KY
      Attendees Registered: 534

      When considering the health and sustainability of a region, the formal design of our physical environment and the food systems it supports must be an integral part of the equation.Through the 20th Century our society became ever more separated from agriculture and food activities while living increasingly sedentary lives. In some places it is impossible to walk to meet our daily needs. Food production and sales are isolated from where we live. Schools are no longer within walking or biking distances from home. The health impacts of the planning both town and counrty are astounding.

      In order to reduce our dependence on national and international food systems, we need to develop local agriculture into the very fabric of our neighborhoods and create better relationships with growers and providers. Similarly, these neighborhoods must facilitate and encourage walking and biking as healthy alternatives to the globally devastating dependence on the automobile.

      The 19th Sustainable City Series forum, AGRARIAN URBANISM, looked at how we can integrate agricultural elements and systems into our new and existing neighborhoods. Andrés Duany explored the idea of developing a society involved with the growing of food and how new models of integrating agriculture into residential environments go beyond retrofitting communities or simply building new ones. Lizz Plater-Zyberk shared innovative work on the health care sector as it seeks to shape a healthy built environment.

      Lizz Plater-Zyberk AND Andrés Duany - Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company


        FORUM 18: Ideas About Cities and How They are Shaped

        sc18Thursday, June 23rd 2011
        5:30 - 6:00 pm - Reception
        6:00 - 7:00 pm - Program
        Glassworks, 815 West Market, Louisville, KY
        Attendees Registered: 298

        The eighteenth forum of the Sustainable City Series held by the Urban Design Studio in partnership with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. was a moderated panel discussion focused on how cities are shaped.

        For the first time in history the majority of humans now live in cities. Around the world there are more than a dozen megacities with populations larger than most countries, such as Tokyo. U.S. cities are experiencing general growth as well, though a wide variety of urban forms exist. A number of older industrial cities are losing populations, like Detroit, while sunbelt cities - such as Phoenix, continue to grow at astonishing rates. And there is an interesting third group which led the editors of the Wilson Quarterly magazine to devote a recent issue to a cluster of articles entitled: "The City Bounces Back." These older cities - primarily along the coasts - which had been losing population steadily for a half century and are now experiencing modest population growth or, at least, population stability; cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, and Washington D.C. Cities are more fundamental to our economies, societies, and future than ever before. How can we relate these trends to specific cities, such as Louisville?

        Blair Ruble - Director, Comparative Urban Studies Program, Woodrow Wilson Center

        Sarah Courteau - Editor, Wilson Quarterly
        Witold Rybczynski - Martin and Margy Meyerson Professor of Urbanism, University of Pennsylvania School of Design
        Roger Lewis - Author of the "Shaping of City" column in the Washington Post
        Dan Jones - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, 21st Century Parks
        James Welch, JR. - Vice Chairman of Brown-Forman and Louisville's Downtown Development Corporation


          FORUM 17: Health and the Built Environment

          sc17Friday, June 10th 2011, 8:30 am - Noon
          Glassworks, 815 West Market, Louisville, KY
          Attendees Registered: 60

          The way a community is designed can affect the health of its residents by encouraging walking, bicycling and other forms of physical activity. Everything from the location of stairways in buildings to the layout of streets can influence our ability to lead active, healthy lives.

          This Sustainable City Series workshop provided hands-on demonstration of how Active Design Guidelines and other design techniques could be used to increase regular physical activity and healthy eating. Participants were introduced to tools and techniques that help incorporate physical activity into the built environment. It provided a new perspective on the design of buildings and transportation infrastructure and showed how area plans could provide opportunities for healthier living.

            • Jim Mims - Director, Louisville Metro Codes and Regulations
            • Dr. Matt Zahn - Acting Director, Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness
            • Dr. Karen Lee - Director, Built Environment Department of New York City
            • Patrick Nall - Principal, TBD+ Architects
            • Bill and Kent Weyland - CITY Properties Group


            FORUM 16: Get Involved!

            sc16Tuesday, May 24th 2011, 6:00 pm
            Glassworks, 815 West Market, Louisville, KY
            Attendees Registered: 211

            It was time for attendees to Sustainable City Series events to get their hands dirty! We have covered a wide array of topics over the past 15 Sustainable City Series events. This installment focused on how attendees could get directly involved in sustainability. There are a host of local organizations and initiatives focused on providing the tools and networks to successfully transition to a more sustainable lifestyle. From utilizing tools to help track measurable and meaningful results of your sustainability efforts to learning to become a flourishing backyard farmer to working together with your neighbors to create a green neighborhood, many opportunities exist to get involved.

            Attendees had an opportunity to learn how to get involved and get connected with local organizations and initiatives that are moving Louisville and the region towards sustainability with presentations about 15Thousand Farmers, the Green Triangle, and Do Something Green. There were also opportunities to sign up and learn about other organizations, initiatives and programs that had tables at this event.

            GUEST SPEAKERS:
              • Tina Ward-Pugh - Councilwoman, Louisville Metro's 9th District
              • Katie Greene - Corporate Responsibility Specialist, LG&E and KU Energy LLC
              • Gary Heine - Co-founder, 15Thousand Farmers


              FORUM 15: Health and the Built Environment

              sc15 Thursday, February 24th, 2011, 6:00 pm
              Glassworks, 815 West Market Street, Louisville, KY
              Attendees Registered: 278

              From the layout and arrangement of streets and highways to houses, businesses, schools and parks, our built environment directly and indirectly affects public health. The growing body of research around the connection between public health and the built environment indicates that we can design communities that benefit the inhabitants from children through to our seniors. In this installment of the Sustainable City Series we will explore tools for creating healthy, sustainable communities as well as Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) as tools to help measure the impact the built environment has on public health.

              GUEST SPEAKERS:
                • Tom Low, AIA – Director, DPZ Charlotte
                • James Dills, MUP MPH – Health Impact Assessment Coordinator, Nashville-Davidson County Public Health Dept.
                • Ernest Hutton, FAICP Assoc AIA – Principal, Hutton Associates, Inc.
                • Scott Correll, AICP – Transportation Planner, City of Charlotte Department of Transportation


                FORUM 14: Rediscovering Urban Waterways

                sc14 Tuesday, October 26th, 2010, 6:00 pm
                Glassworks, 815 West Market Street, Louisville, KY
                Attendees Registered: 260

                Urban waterways, often ignored or veiled features of the built environment, present rich assets for cities when they are redirected from waste carriers to healthy places of beauty, tranquility and recreation. A growing global awareness of water issues and an increased focus on creating more sustainable and ecologically healthy environments has fostered creative approaches to the management of stormwater that are opening the doors to the development of urban waterways as amenities.

                GUEST SPEAKERS:
                  • Tom Galligan – Mayor, City of Jeffersonville, IN
                  • Peggy Hagerty Duffy, P.E. – Canal Project Manager, Construction Solutions
                  • Dr. Thomas Rockaway, P.E. – Director, Center for Infrastructure Research at the University of Louisville
                  • Doug Davis – Owner, River City Canoe & Kayak


                FORUM 13: Sustainable University

                sc13 Tuesday, March 16th, 2010, 6:00 pm
                Glassworks, 815 West Market Street, Louisville, KY
                Attendees Registered: 228

                Universities play a key role in the promotion and implementation of sustainable practices in our communities. Not only do universities contribute to regional sustainability through fundamental research, but also through education and traingin, community involvement, and the institutions' own development of space, energy policy and environmental programming. Attendees learned about initiatives by the Unversity of Louisville and its partners as well as what initiatives are going on at the University of Kentucky.

                GUEST SPEAKERS:
                  • Justin Mog – Assistant to the Provost for Sustainability Initiatives, University of Louisville
                  • Larry Owsley – Vice President of Business Affairs, University of Louisville
                  • Brent Fryrear – Director, Partnership for a Green City
                  • Shane Tedder – Sustainability Coordinator, University of Kentucky


                FORUM 12: Urban Parks and Greenways

                sc12 flyer Thursday, December 3rd, 2009, 6:00 pm
                Glassworks, 815 West Market, Louisville, KY
                Attendees Registered: 293

                Urban parks and greenways play a vital role in the overall sustainability of a city and region. Parks protect wildlife habitats, provide economic development through place-based economies, cleanse the air, reduce flooding, provide environmental education opportunities, facilitate social gatherings, and offer the possibility for recreation, health, and fitness activities. With the Louisville Loop, Waterfront Park, 21st Century Parks and several other notable initiatives, Louisville is creating one of the most extensive urban park systems in the country. Attendees learned more about the future of Louisville’s parks, how they are promoting a sustainable city, and what opportunities existed for public participation.

                GUEST SPEAKERS:
                  • Lisa Hite, AICP – Senior Planner at Louisville Metro Parks
                  • David Karem – President of Waterfront Development Corporation
                  • Dan Jones – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of 21st Century Parks
                  • Major Waltman – Project Director of Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy


                FORUM 11: 2009 Louisville Solar Tour

                sc11Saturday, October 3rd, 2009, 10:10 am
                Green Building, 732 East Market Street, Louisville, KY
                Attendees Registered: 150 (maximum capacity of venue)

                This event is part of the National Solar Tour organized by the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). The Sustainable City Series has partnered with the Louisville Solar Tour to provide attendees the opportunity to learn more about solar power and what others in their community are doing to harness the power of the sun. There were a variety of short speaker presentations as well as opportunities to speak with local leaders in solar energy. Along with solar energy exhibts and the morning presentations there were opportunities to take self-guided tour, provided by the Louisville Solar Tour, of local sites utilizing solar power.

                GUEST SPEAKERS:
                  • Claude Stephens – Generation 14 on "Insights and Observations About Solar Energy"
                  • Gary Watrous, AIA – Watrous Associates on "Super-Insulated Passive-Solar Design"
                  • Jeremy Coxon – SunWind Power Systems on "Photovoltaic & Solar Water Heating Applications"
                  • Tom Fitzgerald – Kentucky Resources Council on "How Solar Energy Policies Affect the General Public"


                FORUM 10: Urban Gardens

                SC10 Flyer Image

                Tuesday, July 7th, 2009, 6:00 pm
                Glassworks, 815 West Market, Louisville, KY
                Attendees Registered: 324

                The growing demand for locally grown foods has been accompanied by an ever-increasing interest in the development of community and private gardens. There are many different types of community gardens out there and many more plans and hopes for the future, however there are some things that all these gardens have in common... the environment. The importance of taking the proper steps early on is critical, because even though your food may be grown locally, if you don't know what is in the soil you are using, the food you produce is not necessarily any better than those shipped from thousands of miles away, and perhaps even worse. Attendees learned valuable information about how to responsibly implement community and personal gardens.

                GUEST SPEAKERS:
                  • Ann Carroll – EPA Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization
                  • Wayne Long – Jefferson County Agriculture Agent and Office Coordinator
                  • Sarah Fritschner – Board President of Breaking New Grounds
                  • Michael O'Leary – Clifton Community Garden at Sacred Heart Village


                FORUM 9: Transportation

                sc9 flyer Thursday, May 26th, 2009, 6:00 pm
                Glassworks, 815 West Market, Louisville, KY
                Attendees Registered: 311

                More efficient transportation systems must be developed in order to provide regional sustainability. Transportation provides the backbone of regional development. City-form has been largely dictated by the available modes of transportation at the time they developed. This can be seen in the compactness of older city centers where the mode of transportation was largely by foot or horse drawn carriage. The placement of cities along navigable waterways such as Louisville was driven by transportation. With the advent of the automobile we see the subsequent development of suburbs spreading farther from the core of urban activity. In order to return to a more sustainable region, transportation modes such as bicycling, rail and bus systems must be developed. Attendees learned what organizations in the region were doing to develop these modes of transportation and how they could be a part of the transformation.

                GUEST SPEAKERS:
                  • Barry Barker – Executive Director the Transit Authority of River City.
                  • Dirk Gowin – Executive Administrator of Metro Louisville Bike Louisville


                FORUM 8: Balanced Growth

                sc8 flyer Thursday, February 5th, 2009, 6:00 pm
                Glassworks, 815 West Market, Louisville, KY
                Attendees Registered: 270

                Current development patterns dominated by unsustainable land use patterns that compromise existing communities, our quality of life, and important environmental resources. A response to this has been the practice of smart growth, which is built around the idea that if we can shift toward a more balanced development pattern, it will have tremendous environmental and economic benefits. Attendees heard planning experts from Nashville and the Atlanta area share their experience with how they are preparing for the sustainable development of their communities’ future and offer lessons that people in Louisville can take to make our own region more sustainable.

                GUEST SPEAKERS:
                  • Rick Bernhardt, FAICP, CNU – Executive Director of the Nashville-Davidson County Planning Department
                  • Steven Kopelman – Executive Director of the Chattahoochee Hill Country Alliance


                FORUM 7: Adaptive Reuse

                sc7 flyer Thursday, December 4th, 2008, 6:00 pm
                Glassworks, 815 West Market, Louisville, KY
                Attendees Registered: 240

                According to noted Historic Preservationist, Donovan Rypkema, “The greenest building is the one already built.” As old buildings outlive their original purpose, the lifecycle costs, embodied energy, sustainable advantages of waste reduction, and the benefit of maintaining historic architecture in many cases make it more efficient and environmentally responsible to redevelop them. Adaptive reuse reduces sprawl, preserves neighborhood character and makes our city more sustainable. This event focused on a discussion of the benefits of reusing our existing buildings and how we can make our community more sustainable.

                GUEST SPEAKERS:
                  • Bill Weyland – Managing Director, CITY Properties Group
                  • Bruce Swetnam – Professor, University of Kentucky's School of Architecture
                  • Julia Christensen – Author of "Big Box Reuse"


                FORUM 6: 2008 Louisville Solar Tour

                sc6 flyerSaturday, October 4th, 2008, 10:00 am
                Urban Design Studio, 507 South Third St, Louisville, KY
                Attendees Registered: 70 (maximum capacity of venue)

                This event was geared towards people interested in reducing their carbon footprint, utility costs, helping move the country towards energy independence, or just curious to know what other people in the community were doing related to solar energy. The event featured a wide variety of short speaker presentations from architects, developers, homeowners, and others involved in utilizing solar energy. Attendees had an opportunity to speak with local leaders in solar energy.

                This event was part of a National Solar Tour organized by the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). Following the morning presentations, attendees had the opportunity to take tours of local sites utilizing solar power from homes and multi-unit residential, to school buildings and other commercial uses.

                GUEST SPEAKERS:
                  • Claude Stephens – Bernheim Forest Visitor's Center
                  • Christopher Whelan – EON (LG&E)
                  • Steve Sizemore & Charlie Weber – Metro Louisville Planning Sustainability Initiatives
                  Dr. Russ Barnett – Speed School: UofL Campus Solar Initiatives
                  Lori Beck – Ohio Valley Creative Energy  Arts Campus
                  Gary Watrous, AIA – Passive Solar, St. Benedict Day Care, 946 S. 25th St.
                  Mike Mulheirn – Solar water heating in selected Jefferson County Public Schools
                  Mark Isaacs, AIA – Legacy Lofts
                  Gill Holland – The Green Building, 732 Market Street
                  Maria Koetter – BGreen2, LLC, 2808 Juniper Hill Court, Cherokee Gardens
                  Matt Partymiller – Solar Energy Solutions,  Bennett Home, 617 Indian Ridge Rd., 40207


                FORUM 5: Water

                sc5 flyer Tuesday, August 12, 2008, 6:00 pm
                Glassworks, 815 West Market, Louisville, KY
                Attendees Registered: 246

                Vital for life on our planet, fresh water supplies in many parts of the world are under increased stress. Shifting weather patterns, population growth, poor environmental regulations, pharmaceuticals, aging infrastructure, and waste among other factors have led to increases in contamination and reduction in our supply of fresh water. Louisville’s own combined sewer system is in trouble due to overflow issues leading to unacceptable levels of wastewater discharge. The event focused on a discussion of water and what attendees could do to help make our city, region, and world more sustainable.

                GUEST SPEAKERS:
                  • Bud Schardein – Executive Director, Metroplitan Sewer District (MSD)
                  • Judy Petersen – Executive Director, Kentucky Waterways Alliance
                  • Gill Holland – Producer, The Group Entertainment – documentary “FLOW: For Love of Water”


                FORUM 4: Climate Change - From Bali to Louisville

                sc4 flyer Tuesday, May 13, 2008, 6:00 pm
                Glassworks, 815 West Market, Louisville, KY
                Attendees Registered: 219

                The effects of global warming, such as changes in wind patterns, ocean currents and rainfall are only beginning to be realized. This forum examined the framework for addressing climate change from the level of the United Nations down to what Louisville is doing as a community to address the issue and how attendees could participate.

                GUEST SPEAKERS:
                  • Art Williams – Director, Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District
                  • Keith Mountain – Associate Professor of Geography and Geosciences - University of Louisville


                FORUM 3: Local Food & Agriculture

                sc3 flyer Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 6:00 pm
                Glassworks, 815 West Market, Louisville, KY
                Attendees Registered: 280

                Attendees learned about Louisville Metro's local food initiatives, community farms, food access, the slow food movement, farmer's markets and left with actions they could take to support local agriculture as well as ways to access local food.

                GUEST SPEAKERS:
                  • Susan Hamilton, Louisville Metro Economic Development Department
                  • Ivor Chodkowski, Community Farm Alliance and Grasshoppers Distribution LLC
                  • Bill Huston, Urban Fresh
                  • Chef Mark Williams, Slow Food Bluegrass



                FORUM 2: Sustainable Home

                sc2 flyer Thursday, December 6, 2007, 6:00 pm
                Glassworks, 815 West Market, Louisville, KY
                Attendees Registered: 193

                Attendees learned how to make their home more energy efficient and environmentally friendly with up to date information about home improvements, energy, materials, appliances and more from professionals. The event featured an in-depth seminar on home efficiency and environmentally sound practices. The Energy Pros took a system approach through the house from foundation to the roof.

                GUEST SPEAKERS:
                  • Bob Geswein – Harrison County R.E.M.C.


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