Four Louisville, Kentucky institutions are forming a new partnership that brings together downtown medical and educational centers – the Jefferson County Technical College, University of Louisville’s Health Sciences Campus, UofL Health and Norton Health Care. The Louisville Medical and Education District, or “LOUMED”, leverages the strengths of each of these institutions to plan collectively. Although the organization is in its infancy, collaborations between institutions have existed for quite some time. However, their physical environment lacks a superlative public realm commensurate with its high-quality of education and health care.
REIMagining the heart of loumed
Medical complexes struggle to establish a public realm that is safe, inviting, and easy to navigate. Their existing urban setting often precludes attention to the connective tissue – the streets, sidewalks and public spaces – which can enable a stronger identity to emerge. In addition, campuses benefit from a central gathering space. LOUMED currently has no such signature space; the framework is dispersed. Lacking a common gathering spot makes it more challenging to identify the district “center” and orient people to campus-wide activities such as food trucks, events, or active recreation. However, there is an opportunity along Chestnut Street, the east-west campus spine, where three of the four institutions maintain a presence adjacent to a centrally-located (but vacant) building. LOUMED Gardens would create a new central gathering space for the city, district, and surrounding communities.