Louisville is being singled out this week by two national magazine in a project meant, in large part, to spotlight economic innovation being undertaken throughout the U.S.
The Next Economy Project is a collaboration between The Atlantic and the National Journal. An installment on Monday featured an interview with Mayor Greg Fischer under the headline, “The City That Never Went Bust.” In the story, Fischer touts regional economic collaboration with Lexington, Metropolitan University and, of course, the bourbon industry. A story on Tuesday focused on former Courier-Journal food editor Sarah Fritschner’s work with the Farm to Table initiative. And so on.
It’s a neat honor for Louisville, being highlighted for economic innovations. I asked a few questions to Amy Sullivan, who is leading the Next Economy Project, to shed a little more light on why Louisville is this weeks’ focus.
What exactly is the Next Economy Project? What are you trying to demonstrate?
The Next Economy Project has two purposes: the first is to highlight local solutions to economic challenges like job training, asset-building, affordable higher education, etc; the second is to spend the year visiting different U.S. cities to see how Americans around the country are adjusting to new economic realities.
So what led you to Louisville?
I’ve been interested in Louisville for a while, having heard about the burgeoning restaurant culture and revitalized neighborhoods like NuLu. A number of people have described it to me as a town that never really boomed in the ’90s and ’00s, so never really busted during the Great Recession. I wanted to look into the diversification of economic clusters that has allowed the region to sustain job losses by always finding some way to make them up elsewhere.
We’ve seen some of what you’ve written about Louisville. What else will we see this week?
As you saw in the first installment, I had a chance to sit down with Mayor Greg Fischer to talk about some of the factors supporting economic development in Louisville. I’ll also be writing about … the importance of the logistics sector, and about a local effort to provide health care to underserved residents.
What other cities have been explored for the Next Economy Project? Who’s next?
We’ve already visited San Antonio and New Orleans for this series, and one of my colleagues is headed to Milwaukee later this month for the next stop.