Louisville CIT
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Louisville CIT

Smart Russell


Russell Neighborhood is on the rise.

Several major property developments are in the works, and it is just the beginning. Among the promising developments for the neighborhood is the selection of Russell as the winner of the HUD Choice Neighborhood grant. The $30 million HUD grant will replace the Beecher Terrace housing development with a mixed-use community and make investments in the infrastructure of the community.

As we look to future of the Russell, we want to make sure Russell doesn’t just catch up, it sets the bar for other neighborhoods in our city. This means we need to make investments in infrastructure of tomorrow namely civic technology. The digital divide spans not only the lack of home internet access and computers, but also related to the digital infrastructure in a community including things like fiber optic cable.

“Russell will be the smartest neighborhood in our Smart City” — Mayor Greg Fischer

The Vision Russell process, the precursor to the HUD Choice Neighborhood grant application, included an extensive, inclusive community engagement process to map the issues of the community by its residents. Vision Russell identified several critical issues to address including public safety, vacant and abandoned properties, and digital inclusion.

Learn more about Vision Russell

Looking these issues through the lens of making Russell the smartest neighborhood in our Smart City, the Office of Civic Innovation and Technology worked with partners to develop a neighborhood technology strategy named Smart Russell to make Russell a better place to live, work, and play.


Geographic Focus Areas


Our projects focus on supporting the redevelopment zones identified in the Vision Russell process


Vacant & Abandoned Property Smoke Detectors

Fires in Vacant and Abandon Properties (VAP) are a major issue for Louisville. Analyzing data from 2012 to 2015, we found that 27.2% of fires in the West End Fire District started in a Vacant and Abandoned [VAP] property. And, that close to half of fires that spread to another building, started in a VAP. For the last three years, the Office of Civic Innovation and Technology has worked with a local startup to build a technology that can detect fires in VAPs. To respond to fires more quickly in VAPs, we will deploy up to 150 innovative, one-of-a-kind devices in structures with a high-risk to catch on fire to catch these fires in their early stages to limit the chance they spread and endanger homes where people live.

Public WiFi


Access to the internet is essential to thrive in our modern economy, and up to 80% of Russell residents do not have a home internet subscription. Our public network will provide a reliable internet connection to Russell residents in their neighborhood 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It will also be a conduit to provide information about social service programs available to under-served residents. We will also put in requirements to protect the privacy of its users. The network will not be used to collect personally identifiable information about users beyond basic demographics like age and gender. Users will have the opportunity to engage with the social service providers promoted on the network, but no personally identifiable data collected by providers will not be shared with Louisville Metro Government.

Proposed Public Wifi Locations as of 10/25 (map: https://arcg.is/bDO9H)

Louisville Fiber Infrastructure and Technology (LFIT)

Fiber optic cable is 21st century internet infrastructure that all communities need to be competitive to attract residents and businesses. But, not all our communities have equal access to this essential infrastructure.

LFIT is building 288 strands of fiber optic cable (this is a lot) down Broadway all the way from downtown to Shawnee park, and down 22nd Street from Broadway to the river. This $2.2 million fiber optic cable build will ensure that Russell, and other west Louisville neighborhoods, have middle-mile fiber. This will make it easier for Louisville Metro to provide enhanced government services, such as Bus Rapid Transit and, potentially, for private partners to provide ultra-high-speed internet connections to homes and businesses.

What do you think?

If you have feedback or suggestions for one or more of the projects, or you would like me to give a presentation to a community group, please feel free to reach out to me at ed.blayney@louisvilleky.gov


This project originally included the expansion of our Public Safety Camera program ran by LMPD’s Real Time Crime Center. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have moved the funding for that expansion to the public Wi-Fi project to support digital inclusion in the Russell Neighborhood.



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