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Developed in conjunction with the City of Louisville's Metro Government, this year's ESI themes are:​

Park Connectivity and Access, Public Health and Contamination, Flooding and Riparian Zones

Inequality is pervasive in Louisville on many fronts. With parks and connectivity, ESI is focusing on connecting all citizens to local parks, increasing access, and updating conditions of local existing parks. We focus on Chickasaw Park, Shawnee Park, and Portland Wharf Park.

Urban Heat Islands

Urban Heat Island effects increase air temperature in pockets throughout the city by 10F in areas of the city. The city is already working towards increasing vegetation plantings and energy efficiency programs; ESI Fellows will work to integrate designed experiments focusing on future conditions with climate change and the impacts of UHI.

Water Quality, Connectivity, and Recreation

A well-loved, mostly channelized stream, Beargrass Creek is plagued issues from overflow, bacteria, invasive plants and animals, and limited shade. Increased rainfall due to climate change will threaten the efficacy of restoration plans. Fellows will address the ability of indicators to evaluate the health of Louisville's watershed function and communication to the local community.

Hydrology, Public Health, and Infrastructure Planning

Louisville's California and Victory Park neighborhoods are addressing concerns including crime, lack of investment/redevelopment, vacant properties, flooding, public health and environmental justice issues. Fellows in this group seek to strengthen the relationships between scientists, city officials, and the public. They will seek to develop designed experiments that evaluate the biological (e.g. biodiversity), social (e.g. aesthetic value), and financial benefits (e.g. public money saved) of green infrastructure.

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