We just came across a glowing write up of Louisville neighborhoods from the public space group Project for Public Spaces. The article appeared on their Making Places blog yesterday and finds only one major fault with the River City: it’s cut off from its river. So much so that the author recommends driving to Jeffersonville for the best experience on the river (and, of course, the views). We could change that, you know. The rest is pure love, though.
Here are a few tidbits:
In my days as editor of Utne Reader, we published an article by urban expert Peter Katz ranking Louisville as the 3rd most underrated city in America (Milwaukee was first). Ever since then I have eager to see things for myself—the last time I passed through was on the way to Daytona Beach for spring break while in college. So I jumped at the chance last fall to speak at a regional smart growth conference right across the river in Jeffersonville, Indiana. I arrived a day early to wander around Louisville, and was even more pleasantly surprised than I anticipated.
So far so good, but it gets better…
Old Louisville is in the midst of gentle gentrification, so you find Laundromats and cut-rate liquor stores sharing street corners with French bakeries and swank antique shops. Wealthy professionals’ BMWs are parked on the street in front of old mansions while students’ bicycles are locked to the second story fire escapes.
A world away (but actually just a few blocks) is Germantown—an enclave of stereotypically tidy small houses interspersed with brick factories and tall-spired churches. Now an ethnically diverse area, Germantown nonetheless reminds me of a Central European village where people stop to chat in the street and community life revolves around the churches and taverns. Indeed, an unexpected characteristic of this Southern city is the German, Irish and Italian names you see everywhere.
There’s more to read, including a stroll down Eastern Parkway to Bardstown Road. It’s easy to read about loving Louisville, so check out the rest of the article over at the PPS blog site.