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What's This?

Louisville is one inspirational place. And new data from the 2015 Menino Survey of Mayors compiled by Boston University’s Initiative on Cities proves it. The report was released this week by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and includes survey results from mayors in 89 cities, both big and small.

The survey asked mayors to list cities where they look for inspiration. Some of the best ideas are recycled or outright stolen, after all.

“Mayors obtain policy ideas from a wide variety of cities,” the report reads. “As in 2014, mayors were asked about the cities from which they have gleaned three recent policy ideas.” The resulting chart, shown above, lists the percentage of mayors who listed each city as a source of inspiration. The survey notes that the chart “depicts every city mentioned more than once and thus excludes a wide array of cities that exactly one mayor mentioned.”

And what do you know, Louisville is in good company, cited as a source of policy inspiration by about nine percent of mayors. It sits alongside Portland, Ore., San Francisco, and Seattle for frequency of mention in the survey. Louisville tops other poster cities like Nashville, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, and Pittsburgh. Mayors in other cities seem to like something we’re going here.

In further analysis of survey results from only “big city” mayors, Louisville performs even better, raking in about 11 percent of mentions. “City size does impact where mayors look for ideas,” the report reads. “Big city mayors named New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Salt Lake City, Philadelphia, Denver, Boston, Seattle, Portland, Louisville, and Chicago more than 10 percent of the time.”

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“Mayors are generally drawn by best practices and success stories in specific policy areas,” the report notes. “The most commonly cited motivation—highlighted by a whopping 68 percent of mayors—was “policy specific.” These mayors believed that their chosen city approached a specific policy area in a way that they perceived to be especially effective or innovative.”

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Branden Klayko

Branden Klayko

Founder and Editor at Broken Sidewalk
Branden founded Broken Sidewalk in 2008 while practicing architecture in Louisville. He continued the site for seven years while living in New York City, returning to Louisville in 2016. Branden is a graduate of the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, and has covered architecture, design, and urbanism for The Architect's Newspaper, Designers & Books, Inhabitat, and the American Institute of Architects.
Branden Klayko

5 COMMENTS

  1. I find this hard to believe…what possibly is Lou doing that is so ground breaking in progressive policy matters ???

  2. There are good things happening in Louisville, but almost none of them come from policies in the mayor’s office!

  3. Maybe they are taking tips on how to subvert planning requirements like their version of Cornerstone 2020? The mayor was pretty crafty by suddenly becoming an engineer and unilaterally deciding the Morrissey Garage was unsafe and then pulled a fast one by destroying the façade overnight so the conversation would stop there. I imagine there are other mayors out there who would love to be able to pull that off in their towns.

  4. “Camp David” is correct. The mayor does take full advantage of the de facto one-party system in Louisville.

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