In Louisville, KY, the mayor has also called for honest, frank conversations about racial systemic an examination of city policies and institutional concentration on equity. He calls for Louisville to be "compassionate city" that invests in its residents.

Louisville is no stranger to innovation. When Louisville’s current mayor, Greg Fischer, came into office in January 2011, he emphasized the importance of developing a data-driven and continuous improvement-minded culture within the municipal government. Louisville has built a strong foundation of data use and performance improvement under Mayor Fischer’s administration, and has been supported by efforts such as Bloomberg’s Innovation Teams. The City is applying this rigorous approach to empowering innovation in city government and institutionalizing equity.

Louisville Pyramid of Innovation

Louisville’s Pyramid of Innovation

Through City Accelerator, Louisville cross-analyzed data from the Louisville Fire Department (LFD) and client data from the Department of Community Services (CS), revealing significant overlap between house fires and poverty and spurring several solutions. A related hackathon inspired the invention of a device that will protect households in low-income neighborhoods from fire.

Additionally, Louisville trained 250 frontline employees in project management principles. Due to staff training, the metro government improved the lead abatement permit process, which led to reduced turnaround times, streamlined documents and more efficient service provision. In fact, the city has turned a $25 million systemic budget imbalance into an $18 million surplus in less than three years as a result of streamlined processes and reduced turnaround times for common permits.

Louisville strives to be a compassionate city that invests in its residents.

Finally, as part of its participation in Racial Equity Here, Louisville is building on the mayor’s commitment to break down cultural barriers and invest in Louisville’s residents. In 2012, it established the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, which focuses on young people and community violence. Together with the community, the city has facilitated group discussions around race, identity and barriers and focused programming around the most at-risk youth.

City Accelerator 

Through the City Accelerator, an initiative supported by the Citi Foundation and in partnership with Governing, city teams--both public servants and local partners-- have tested new approaches to improve municipal services, practices and policies. Since 2015, 22 cities have piloted efforts to improve how local government runs and generate economic opportunities, particularly for marginalized populations.

Mayors and Schools Field Trip 

Living Cities hit the road with former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak to survey the partnerships between mayors and schools with an eye toward improving outcomes for kids.

The Project on Municipal Innovation 

We work with the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center to convene and support a network of mayoral chiefs of staff and policy leaders who advance transformative change through innovation in city government to improve the lives of residents.

Blog Post Ted Smith on Sep 19, 2019

What is a Community Data Portal and What Difference Can it Make? 

Blog Post Marlon Williams & Alyssa Smaldino on Jun 5, 2019

What Does Racial Equity & Inclusion Look Like for the Public Sector? 

Resource on May 13, 2019

Racial Equity Here Learning Report: Lessons from 5 Cities Operationalizing Racial Equity 

This learning report highlights lessons learned from the work of five cities operationalizing racial equity, including Albuquerque, Austin, Grand Rapids, Louisville, and Philadelphia.

Person Louisville Metro Government

Ed Blayney 

Ed Blayney is an Innovation Project Manager in the Office of Performance Improvement and Innovation for Louisville Metro Government (KY).


Community Development 


Resource on Mar 5, 2019

Getting Ready for Racial Equity Work: The Racial Equity Here Evaluation 

This evaluation of our Racial Equity Here initiative offers recommendations for other cities interested in applying a racial equity lens to their policies and operations.


Community Engagement 


Resource on Jul 14, 2017

Voicing Race: Racial Equity Here [PODCAST] 

In the second episode of our Voicing Race podcast, Living Cities speaks with mayors and city staff participating in the Racial Equity Here initiative, on their efforts to combat structural and institutional racism.



Disrupting disparate outcomes in income, wealth, and access to opportunity.

Blog Post Nadia Owusu & Ben Hecht on Mar 22, 2019

Beyond Counting Policies: Measuring Progress in Racial Equity 


Municipal Innovation 

Supporting a movement towards local government that is nimble, collaborative and data driven.




Blog Post Kien Lee on Mar 12, 2019

Getting Ready for Racial Equity Work: Community Engagement  

Community engagement is central to cities’ racial equity strategies. It's also where cities need a lot of support.


Systems Change 

Shifting decision-making processes, policies, and resources to produce dramatically better outcomes for citizens at scale.

Blog Post on Jun 19, 2018

Government, Civic And Business Leaders Launch "Racial Equity Here" Commitment T… 

Blog Post Nora Liu on May 11, 2017

Accelerating Racial Equity in Cities: Emerging Insights  

The five cities that make up Racial Equity Here are doing game-changing work to advance racial equity. At this midway point, we look at some emerging insights from their work.

Blog Post Ben Hecht & Brandee McHale on May 8, 2017

Leveraging the Buying Power of Cities 

Eight cities created pitches for a new City Accelerator on procurement and economic opportunity. View them before final cities are selected!

Blog Post Steven Bosacker on Apr 27, 2017

Dynamically Planned: Make Only Big Plans, the Sequel 

In his latest writing on the Equipt to Innovate framework, Steven Bosacker takes inspiration from architect Daniel Burnham, plus the work of cities like New Orleans and Louisville, to discuss how urb…

Person Evirome Institute at University of Louisville School of Medicine

Ted Smith 

Blog Post Anne Price & Kien Lee on Mar 21, 2017

Racial Equity Here - Lessons from the Field  

Four lessons from our Racial Equity Here cohort on how to embed a racial equity lens in local government.

Blog Post Matt Baer on Jan 4, 2017

Mayors and Schools: Accountability Without Authority 

Lessons on school governance from a year-long tour of U.S. cities.

Blog Post Ed Blayney on Jul 19, 2016

Using #CivicTech to Stop Fires in Vacant Properties 

The Louisville City Accelerator team reflects on a hackathon that created a low-cost wireless smoke detector.

Blog Post Norris Williams on Jun 22, 2016

Measuring Progress on the Road to Innovation 

As cities double down on results, potential stumbling blocks lurk around every corner.

Blog Post Needham Hurst & Elizabeth Reynoso on May 31, 2016

How Cities are Rethinking Summer Jobs 

Cities are using new approaches and partnerships to maximize the impact of summer jobs programs.

Blog Post Ben Hecht on May 25, 2016

Announcing Racial Equity Here 

Living Cities is launching Racial Equity Here, a new initiative that will support five U.S. cities committed to improving racial equity and advancing opportunity for all.

Blog Post Owen Stone on May 10, 2016

How Innovation Teams Approach Stakeholder Management 

Key questions and insights from innovators on the cutting edge.

Blog Post Nadia Owusu on Apr 25, 2016

What I Learned from a Gathering of i-teams in Memphis 

Seventeen i-teams from around the United States and Israel came together in Memphis for two days to collectively grapple with the most pressing challenges facing cities around the world.

Blog Post Ben Hecht on Jan 7, 2016

#BensTake: Can Local Government Innovation Stick?  

A municipal innovation movement is gaining steam across the U.S. From the work of our City Accelerator's first cohort, Living Cities CEO, Ben Hecht, outlines three trends that he sees as critical to …

Blog Post R.T. Rybak on Nov 24, 2015

Mayors and Schools: The Louisville Handshake 

In this latest installment of the Mayors and Schools Field Trip, Mayor Rybak heads to Louisville, where Mayor Greg Fisher developed a compact with the superintendent of schools to ensure mutual accou…

Blog Post Owen Stone on Nov 12, 2015

Building the i-teams Problem Solving Network 

As i-teams work to build a new practice of innovation in city government, they’re looking to others around the U.S. and across the world who are struggling with the same tough problems.

Blog Post Ted Smith on Oct 6, 2015

New Ideas for Old Tools: Harnessing the Community Reinvestment Act for the Futu… 

In Louisville, an innovative web platform pursues the goal of simplifying the process of collaboration between banks and community partners.

Blog Post Kevin Paul on Aug 5, 2015

How Big Ideas are Shifting the Status Quo in City Government 

Through a unique partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, Living Cities is supporting a cohort of city hall Innovation Teams deploying bold ideas to tackle the biggest issues facing city government…

Blog Post Ben Hecht on Apr 27, 2015

Process is the New Program: The Road to Enduring Change 

Living Cities CEO, Ben Hecht on our exciting new partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and i-teams in cities around the country and in Israel.

Blog Post Ben Hecht on Apr 9, 2015

#BensTake: Connected Problems Require Collaborative Solutions 

How could we move away from single issue solutions towards approaches that address the inter-connected nature of the problems we face?

Blog Post Arthur Burris & Brandee McHale on Sep 9, 2014

Introducing the City Accelerator's First Cohort 

The Accelerator cities will each adopt cutting-edge approaches to the practice of innovation and tackle a specific challenge facing low-income residents in their communities.

Blog Post Ron Littlefield on Jul 9, 2014

Innovation Profiles: Louisville and Albuquerque 

Albuquerque and Louisville are both committed to using an enhanced spirit of innovation to aid the whole community – with a special emphasis on those with the greatest need.

Blog Post on Jul 3, 2014

Innovation Needed to Finally Win War on Poverty 

The City Accelerator offers an opportunity for new thinking that could not come at a better time. Six cities – Albuquerque, Denver, Louisville, Nashville, Philadelphia and San Jose – have stepped up…

Blog Post Ted Smith on Feb 25, 2014

From Open Data to Community Data: Open Government’s YouTube Moment 

Louisville, like many cities, is embracing Tim O’Reilly’s idea of “ government as platform.