Since its settlement in the 1840s by German immigrants, Louisville’s California and Victory Park Neighborhood has experienced substantial changes. Industrialization and new rail lines led to fragmentation, but it was The Great Flood of 1937 that changed the community forever. Residents and businesses were evacuated and thanks to redlining and urban renewal the neighborhood was never the same.

Louisville Metro Government called on Gresham Smith to help write the next chapter of the California and Victory Park community’s story, tasking our team with investigating the neighborhood’s current challenges and outlining actionable steps to move the neighborhood forward. After engaging with residents, business owners and stakeholders, we developed a comprehensive neighborhood plan to move the west Louisville neighborhood forward with a focus on using incremental actions to achieve long term visions.


Louisville Metro Government


Louisville, KY




surveys from community members


vision statement


action areas

Forming the Foundation

Forming the Foundation

Before we could begin the planning process, our team had to get to know the neighborhood. We had more than 100 conversations with residents, business owners and city agencies and collected 80 surveys from community members.

We uncovered a variety of themes in the survey responses. Residents consistently praised the neighborhood’s people, parks and community programs. However, residents also consistently stated that drugs, violence, vacant property and dangerous traffic were issues in the community.

Driving Discussions

Driving Discussions

After conducting research, our project team further explored the themes we identified. We used community chalk boards, focus group interviews, walking workshops and open houses to gather additional input from neighborhood residents. We also developed a community vision statement—a dream for the future of the neighborhood. The final statement includes five operative words that summarize the goals of the neighborhood plan and will serve as a filter for all improvement initiatives: engaged, unified, safe, healthy and thriving.
Planning for Action

Planning for Action

The neighborhood plan’s recommendations for improvements are divided into five distinct areas: land use and community form, mobility, environment, public space and community building. Action items within each of the five areas are further broken down by timeframe and categorized as short-term, mid-term or long-term projects. Then, each action item is placed in an action matrix, which provides a detailed look at the roles, responsibilities and timelines for each task.

Project Contact

Our team is committed to improving the places we call home.

Bring genuine ingenuity to your community.

Louis R. Johnson, PLA, ASLA
Louis R. Johnson, PLA, ASLA
Executive Vice President, Land Planning