louisville
Like so many other American cities, Louisville, Kentucky, must deal with thousands of vacant properties. The city government alone owns more than 450. To turn these vacant lots into assets, the city government and Vision Louisville have launched Lots of Possibility, an innovative design competition to transform blighted, abandoned spaces.

The city government tells us: “Vacant properties not only threaten the health, safety and vibrancy of a neighborhood – but they also are lost opportunities to create active places that strengthen neighborhoods.”

Individuals or teams can submit ideas for either permanent or temporary uses of city-owned lots. The city will select six finalists for each category and then two winners for each, which will receive seed funding.

The city government explains how the competition works for both categories:

Permanent projects (e.g., residential, commercial, institutional/civic, or other use that requires taking ownership of the lot)
Two winners in this category will receive ownership of the vacant lot proposed + $15,000 in seed funding to make the project happen. In this category, particular emphasis will be placed on making sure that the idea is not only creative, cost effective and able to be replicated, but also has the potential to be fully funded (assuming that additional funds beyond the prize package are needed.

Temporary/interim projects (e.g., do not involve a physical structure that will be difficult to remove; one to two year lease of the vacant lot acceptable)
This category is designed for proposals that identify innovative ways to repurpose vacant lots. Uses are not expected to be permanent at the outset, but rather to preserve the land for future potential development. Two winners in this category will receive a one year land lease (renewable for an additional year) + $4,000 in project funding. Please note that winners will be expected to maintain the lot, as well as restore the site, at the end of the lease.

The city has made 250 vacant lots available. “They are of varying sizes, shapes and locations.”

Learn more about the scale of Louisville’s vacant lot issue. Landscape architects: search and select a vacant lot before submitting a proposal. Ideas are due by February 24.

Another worthy design competition in Louisville seeks a design for a new children’s museum complex. Winners will take home $6,000. Register online by February 10.

Image credit: Vacant properties in Louisville / Preservation Louisville