Home » Trager family pledges $1 million to UofL for downtown green space

Trager family pledges $1 million to UofL for downtown green space

Founders Square

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville’s Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute has received a pledge of $1 million from the Trager family to establish the Trager Micro-Forest Project, a scientific inquiry into the impact of intense urban greening on human health, economic vitality and the natural environment.

The Envirome Institute has secured a 30-year lease with Louisville Metro Government to use Founders Square as an outdoor laboratory to research innovative ideas in urban greening. Patrick Piuma, director of the Envirome Institute’s Urban Design Studio, will oversee a project to intensely plant Founders Square with native plant and tree species while creating an accessible, inviting and functional public space. The project at Founders Square will build on the Envirome Institute’s groundbreaking work with the Green Heart Project, which is examining the scientific link between nature and human health.

“The Trager Micro-Forest Project is a transformative project connecting people with nature, starting in the heart of our city,” said Michael Trager-Kusman. “The members of our family are honored to support learning about the impact of scientifically planned and planted green spaces in the city we love.”

The project will provide an opportunity for UofL researchers in multiple disciplines to work with members of the community and other organizations to track and measure changes in human health and well-being and to study the project’s impact of biodiversity, micro-climates, economic development and public safety. The learning from this project can be used to inform the way city planners integrate nature into urban environments everywhere.

In the past, Louisville’s downtown was a vibrant hub of activity, from shopping and industry to entertainment and culture. The Trager Micro-Forest Project is intended to excite and engage the community while changing perceptions of downtown and promoting a greener and healthier city.

Initial work on the Trager Micro-Forest Project is already underway. Researchers are analyzing current park usage and taking air and surface temperature measurements in Founders Square and surrounding properties, and they have completed an inventory of the existing trees. This past summer, they used ground-penetrating radar to peer beneath the surface of Founders Square to identify any possible underground obstacles. Community members will be invited to participate in activities on site and provide input into the project over the next few months, with plantings to follow.

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