Louisville’s mayor says the city needs to add more immigrants, affordable housing and flights to the western United States if it hopes to grow at a greater rate in the next decade. Greg Fischer spoke to about 50 University of Louisville faculty, staff and students as part of the Urban and Public Affairs speaker series.
Fischer touched on a number of topics including:
- Jobs in west Louisville: “Walmart is dead (but) I think something better there is going to happen anyway” at 18th and Broadway.
- Population growth: “We need more steady growth … we could fit 200,000 more people in the old city because we’ve got land and 6,000 vacant houses.”
- Density: Most of the people developing downtown aren’t from Louisville. Our local developers prefer to build on green space outside the urban core, but “I think they’re missing out on a real opportunity if downtown continues to develop as it is.”
- Affordable housing: “Hot cities are big on affordable housing…great cities are integrated.”
- Immigration: “We want our foreign born population to be around 15 percent by 2025. It’s 8 or 9 percent right now.”
- Light rail: “The numbers just don’t work” and it is not a priority, especially with the federal government requiring matching funds from local governments before investing in large transportation projects.
Several students had questions for the mayor, asking about health and economic help for west Louisville, policing and whether the mayor had any ideas for research projects for students studying urban planning. The mayor tasked one of his aides, UofL graduate Tommy Clark, with getting a list for the students.