About John Gilderbloom / Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods

John Gilderbloom

Welcome to our website of the University of Louisville's Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods Program (SUN). SUN's mission is to explore strategies, which foster empowering individuals in the community, promoting neighborhood revitalization and self-sufficiency achieved through community partnerships. Former UofL President John Shumaker remarked that, "SUN through its sheer tenacity helped turn an eyesore of blocks and blocks of boarded-up buildings into a development that the entire city can be proud of." We hope you enjoy our website!

John I. "Hans" Gilderbloom is considered one of the most influential figures in urban affairs with an emphasis on sustainability, housing, health and transportation. His fingerprints are all over cities throughout the world. Since 1976 he has been credited as a major player in getting passed and defending the enactment of tenant protections against unfair evictions and unreasonable rents in over 125 cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and over 100 New Jersey cities. His research on the housing and transportation needs of the disabled and elderly was instrumental provided a justification for Congress passing Americans Disability Act according to Planning Magazine.

Dr. Gilderbloom has also showed how to partner up with non-profits, government, developers and banks in creating and renovating attractive, affordable, and sustainable homes in cities. He has also linked this success to traffic calming by converting fast multi-lane one way streets into calmer two-way for greater walkability, biking and transit use. Dr. Gilderbloom also argues the need to empower poor citizens to demand and act to create livable neighborhoods by cleaning up graffiti, liter, and painting homes to encourage neighborhood regeneration. Dr. Gilderbloom was also an effective advocate for ending the U.S. Embargo of Cuba testifying in the US Senate and writing about the harsh situation. Finally, Dr. Gilderbloom research has encouraged cities to take a more active role in reducing air, water and ground pollution that will improve life span, prosperity, housing, and health.

Dr. Gilderbloom is a Professor in the Graduate Planning, Public Administration, Public Health, and Urban Affairs program at the University of Louisville, where he also directs the highly lauded Center for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods. Since earning his Ph.D., Gilderbloom’s research in urban sustainability has appeared in eight co-authored or edited books or journals, 55 scholarly peer-reviewed journals, 30 chapters in edited books, 11 monographs and 31 opinion pieces in newspapers and magazines including: Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Courier-Journal, and USA Today Magazine. The New York Times (among many other newspapers in the Netherlands, Japan and Russia) ran a Sunday feature of his work on renewing poor neighborhoods. He is also a Fellow of the Scholars Strategy Network housed at Harvard under the direction of Professor Theda Skocpol.

He has consulted for Presidents (Bush, Clinton and Obama), Mayors (Burlington), Senators (McConnell, Schumer); Governors (Jerry Brown, Andrew Cuomo and Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development (Cuomo, Cisneros). He has consulted with the Mayors of Moscow, Russia; Habana, Cuba; San Jose, Costa Rica, Melbourne, Australia, and such US cities as Vermont, Houston, Newport, Louisville, Newark, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and Chicago. He had personally advised the Secretary of US Treasury under Obama, along with Gay Rights icon the late Harvey Milk, Mayor Bernie Sanders of Burlington and US Senate, Martin Luther King the 3rd,, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Donald Turner, top US advisor to President Nelson Mandela on housing and community development.

Significant and important books:

  • "Ten Habits of Neighborhood Livability: Creating Healthy, Happy, Safe, Sustainable and Equitable Places" by John I. "Hans" Gilderbloom (2019) University of Louisville, Center for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods
  • "Chromatic Homes: The Joy of Color in Historic Places" by John I. "Hans" Gilderbloom (2018) Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky
  • "Invisible City: Poverty, Housing and New Urbanism" by John I. Gilderbloom (2008) Austin, TX University of Texas Press
  • "Promise and Betrayal: Universities and the Battle for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods" (2005) by John I. Gilderbloom and Robert Mullins. New Albany, NY: State University of New York Press
  • "Rethinking Rental Housing" by John I. Gilderbloom and Richard Appelbaum (1988) Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press

Numerous lectures by Gilderbloom on urban pollution, two way streets, and neighborhood regeneration can be found here.

FEATURED: Love Is a Two-Way Street: Our Downtown Neighborhoods