Louisville looks to get greener with a new ‘microforest’
The University of Louisville’s Envirome Institute has plans to convert an underutilized downtown park into a “microforest.”
The institute’s Urban Design Studio plans to “intensely green” the 0.6 acre park known as Founders Square at Fifth Street and Muhammad Ali Blvd using a $1 million dollar grant from the Trager Family Foundation.
“You want it to feel like you are almost in a forest and it’s more than just the trees, it's the ground cover and all of that,” Envirome Institute Urban Design Director Patrick Piuma said.
When people talk about living in a healthy city one of the first things they mention is vegetation, trees and parks, Piuma said, but much of downtown Louisville is covered in concrete and asphalt.
Using the grant funds, the Envirome Institute secured a 30-year lease with Louisville Metro to research ideas in urban greening and its impacts on human health and wellbeing.
Piuma wants to reimagine how cities co-exist with the natural world. He’s not quite sure what that’s going to look like yet, but it will combine native plants and tree species with an accessible and inviting greenspace at Founders Square.
Piuma’s team will start gathering data through the spring and summer and hopes of planting next fall. He hopes the park will become a jumping off point to revitalize downtown with pocket parks, trees and other vegetation.
“It’s important that people know that this park is the beginning of a bigger vision to really, intensely green downtown,” Piuma said.