Downtown Louisville Tree Canopy Improvement

Project Profile

Project Location

Louisville, KY

Project Lead



Bulleit Bourbon



TreesLouisville, in partnership with Bulleit Bourbon and American Forests, planted 35 trees along East Witherspoon Street in Louisville’s Central Business District (CBD) in fall 2021. The CBD currently has the lowest tree canopy cover of any Louisville neighborhood, measuring only 9% on average. The new trees will provide shade along a wide pedestrian pathway, mitigate stormwater in an area of town with a higher-than-average percentage of impervious surfaces, and intercept air pollutants and particulate matter emitted from the highway.

This planting ties into a larger, concentrated effort by Louisville Metro Urban Forestry to strategically increase canopy in the Central Business District. It will allow residents of the Downtown area greater access to green space and create a more welcoming environment for thousands of individuals and families to play, exercise and travel.

Check out a snapshot of the project: Impact Summary

Every tree planting project demonstrates impacts that create a more just and sustainable future. TreesLouisville focused on planting trees to provide shade, filter air, and promote recreation in a busy downtown area.

Human Health

Air Quality - 6
Urban Heat - 10
Active Living - 10
Wellness & Mental Health - 6
Social Health - 9

Social Equity

Inequity Context - 10
Site Selection - 7
Community Engagement in Design - 4
Community Participation in Implementation - 5
Economic Equity - 4


Site Prep & Implementation - 17
Climate Action - 13
Water Quality & Quantity - 8
Habitat, Food & Wood Production - 3
Bioremediation - 0

The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs are a global call for action. These goals have the power to build a better future for everyone.

Good Health and Well Being

Trees planted along the pedestrian pathway and high-traffic roads will provide much-needed green space and encourage recreation, which will improve physical and mental health. Trees will cool the air, reduce extreme heat effects, and filter the air.

Clean Water and Sanitation

Swamp White Oaks are native to Kentucky and are hardy, long-lived trees. These water-efficient trees will mitigate stormwater runoff in downtown Louisville.

Decent Work and Economic Growth

Investments in urban forests and other green infrastructure add significantly to green economic growth. TreesLouisville supported local businesses by purchasing trees and materials nearby.

Reduce Inequalities

Trees were planted in an area that is severely lacking green space and is used by many residents, tourists, and other community members. Planting trees can create places that promote informal interactions and promote community capacity for social resilience.

Sustainable Cities and Communities

Urban forests make significant contributions to the environmental sustainability, economic viability and livability of cities. Located near high-traffic roads, trees at this site will improve air quality by screening fine particulates that are associated with higher risk of asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Responsible Production and Consumption

Planting trees in areas with impervious surfaces lowers summer ambient temperatures and reduces electricity use and cost needed to cool nearby buildings.

Climate Action

The project will deliver local climate action through air quality improvements, stormwater runoff mitigation, cooling relief in hot temperatures, and energy savings.

Life on Land

Climate-resilient trees will support wildlife and be maintained for long-term survival.

Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

The project was designed with the City to enhance the downtown improvement efforts and address environmental injustices.

Partnerships for Goals

This project is a collaborative effort between TreesLouisville, Bulleit Bourbon, American Forests, and the City of Louisville.This project includes on-going community-based care and stewardship, including advocating for community access to local greening resources.

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