Downtown Louisville Master Plan

Downtown Louisville Master Plan Louisville, Kentucky

Services Provided

Downtown Master Plan
Urban Design
Public Engagement

People Involved

Andrew Overbeck
Chris Hermann
Jeffrey Pongonis
Aron Fraizer


2013 Kentucky ASLA Merit Award in Planning & Analysis

Plan Documents

Downtown Louisville Master Plan

A strategic vision and actionable strategies for continued downtown development.

Over the past ten years, Downtown Louisville made great strides in boosting annual tourism, from three million visitors to eleven million, with new anchors such as Fourth Street Live!, Waterfront Park, and the Yum! Center downtown arena. These improvements have been significant but much remains to be done in re-creating an authentic, livable downtown that will continuously invigorate the regional economy. 

MKSK worked with the Louisville Downtown Partnership and Louisville Metro to develop a new downtown master plan that identifies catalytic projects, builds consensus, and generates momentum for Downtown Louisville. This collaborative and interactive process involved the general public, dozens of stakeholders, and downtown leaders in defining a vision and strategic direction for downtown. Beginning in 2013, the public was engaged through a series of public meetings that attracted more than 300 participants. Community conversation also took place on an interactive web interface that received more than 25,000 individual page views and generated 240 ideas and 350 comments from the public.


As the lead planning and design firm on the project, MKSK developed a framework plan that allocated the different land uses the team recommended, as well as identified opportunities for public space improvements, new amenities, changes to the circulation network, and sustainability efforts. The Master Plan identified funding strategies for public, private, and public/private investment.

The plan was guided by detailed economic analysis that examined business development, residential, and retail trends regionally and nationwide to establish market demand for the next 10 years in downtown. 


Proposed improvements to downtown centered around Five Neighborhoods and One Riverfront. The plan defines five distinct urban neighborhoods within Downtown Louisville that will help attract private investment in residential and retail, grow jobs, and create new public amenities. Building on the standard set by Waterfront Park, the One Riverfront concept plan integrates each of the Five Neighborhoods with the Ohio River and creates a unified and cohesive Riverwalk that connects the neighborhoods surrounding downtown. 

Since adoption by the Louisville Downtown Partnership board in 2014, MKSK has worked to assist the City, the Partnership, and the Waterfront Development Corporation on implementation projects, including the South 4th Street streetscape improvements, the reconnection of River Road to better integrate West Louisville with downtown, and on-going design for Waterfront Park Phase 4