The Lexington Downtown Development Authority’s livableLEX initiative seeks to enhance downtown to be a more vital, sustainable, and livable place. Staff will help manage and guide projects that support the following initiative goals:

+ Create a planning and design process focused on placemaking which strengthens the connection between people and the places they share.

+ Improve public spaces to be safe, accessible and enjoyable places for everyone to walk, bike, rest, and rejuvenate as part of our daily routine.

+ Develop quality streets and public spaces that are essential to a livable, creative, and economically vital downtown.

+ Engage downtown stakeholders and leverage local partnerships to ensure we can quickly translate the community’s vision into reality.

+ Encourage an iterative approach and an opportunity to experiment, assess, and evolve projects.


+ Gehl Public Space Public Life Survey – In partnership with the Bluegrass Community Foundation and the Knight Foundation, we engaged Gehl Studio to study and recommend enhancements to Lexington’s downtown public spaces. A greater understanding of people’s behavior, as well as new data, will help to influence people oriented planning and policy that inspires creative, people-first designs in Lexington’s public spaces. Gehl provided a plan that includes key recommendations to guide and inform the design and development of the spaces and blocks adjacent to the Town Branch Commons, Main St, Short St, and Limestone within the central business district. 
+ Short Street Pilot Project – In partnership with LFUCG and the Lexington Parking Authority, this pilot project incorporates light, affordable, and reversible street enhancements along three blocks of Short St. The pilot tested and evaluated design approaches to maximize function, safety, and aesthetics for all people and modes of transportation in downtown. This is an opportunity to easily and affordably test proposed long-term enhancements while putting a spotlight on downtown Lexington during  Breeder’s Cup and through fall, winter and spring.  
+ Pedestrian Wayfinding – In partnership with VisitLex and DLC, this pedestrian scale informational and directional signage program was implemented downtown which aims to enhance pedestrian circulation and sense of place, increase comfort of visitors and residents, and orient users to attractions, destination retail, entertainment, and food and drink establishments. The overall aiming to improve people’s understanding, experiences, and enjoyment of downtown Lexington.
+ Town Branch Water Walk Events –  Was developed as a multi-media public education project allowing residents of Lexington, KY and beyond to trace the length of a long buried waterway. The scope of the project included podcast and website creation, planning and hosting four public events, and social media outreach. These educational tools have been made free and publicly available on the new project website  The podcasts are a self-guided audio tour of downtown Lexington’s Town Branch Creek examining the history, ecology, geology and infrastructure impacting the waterway. The Town Branch Water Walk was an important first step in engaging Lexington residents as grassroots stakeholders in the vision and value of the larger Town Branch Commons project. The Town Branch Commons project connects the urban core of Lexington to surrounding neighborhoods through transformative traffic, pedestrian, and public space improvements yielding benefits to safety, public health, mobility, equality and economic development.  Three months of events kicked of on September 18, 2015, including a pop-up exhibition at PARKing Day and Gallery Hop. On September 20th, October 11th, and November 8th, the livableLEX 2nd Sunday events that allowed residents to walk and bike the length of the culvert, take part in a scavenger hunt, and follow guided tours of the podcast trails.The Town Branch Water Walk is a collaboration between designers, educators, nonprofit and corporate sponsors, and was developed through a LFUCG Stormwater Incentive Grant program. Maps and Podcasts were developed by landscape architecture students at the University of Kentucky in collaboration with SCAPE Landscapes Architecture and MTWTF graphic design studio. The Town Branch Water Walk was created by: SCAPE Landscape Architecture PLLC, MTWTF, Lexington Downtown Development Authority, Peach Technology, and the University of Kentucky’s Landscape architecture Porgram in collaboration with Bluegrass Creensource, the Fayette Alliance, Town Branch Trail, Lord Aeck Sargent, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Fayette County Cooperative Extension, Downtown Lexington Corporation, University of Kentucky’s College of Design, and the YMCA
+ Design Excellence- In partnership LFUCG, we have created and are an advocate for the Design Excellence Standards and Guidelines proposed for downtown’s core. This is a framework for the future development of downtown, aimed at enhancing the existing built environment and protecting economic investments. It aims to ensure development is consistent with the city’s vision while offering a predictable and transparent process for the applicant.