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.
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.
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.