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Imagine Lexington 2045: Urban and rural balance

We’re wrapping up our five-part series breaking down each pillar of the Imagine Lexington 2045 comprehensive plan — here you’ll learn about how Lexington plans to balance urban and rural growth.

A horse standing in a field during sunset

It comes as no surprise that our beautiful Bluegrass and horses are a must-see. | Photo by @syd.uncharted

Last year, we began a series breaking down the city’s newly adopted comprehensive plan, Imagine Lexington 2045.

The 349-page plan focuses on long-term planning + urban growth to address the needs of Lexingtonians. Before reading on, catch up on the first four iterations:

Now, we’re onto the last theme: Urban and rural balance. Particularly, how the city can support urban growth while also protecting + preserving our agricultural assets.


The first pillar in mindful growth involves accountability — of both the organizers and by Lexingtonians to ensure the outlined vision for balanced growth is followed. Here are a few of the accountability policies listed in the plan:

  • Modernizing zoning ordinances to reflect the comprehensive plan + creating growth benchmarks to monitor its progress
  • Redesigning roadways to safely accommodate all users, including walkers, bicyclists, and transit
  • Providing more public education + outreach opportunities
  • Creating new offices that advance sustainability efforts, as well as racial justice + equality
  • Enhancing diversity on Lexington’s boards and commissions


To continue being stewards of our land + resources, the plan outlines three focuses of sustainable development — economically, environmentally, and socially — including:

  • Encouraging inter-county connectivity through increased regional transportation to capitalize on tourism of surrounding counties
  • Identifying rural land uses that would not only enhance the economy, but create additional income-generating possibilities for local farmers
A yellow brick building boarded up in the front with posters and Timothy Johnson of the United Way of the Bluegrass standing in front of it.

A great example of a historic building receiving new life is the Palmer Building. | Photo by Amy Wallot, LFUCG

Amy Wallot/LFUCG


As the plan states, “growth is inevitable, encouraged, and invited as it’s also an indicator of a desirable community.” — yay us. And that growth aims to be sustainable + equitable. In addition to focusing on more parks and efficient placement of stormwater and sanitary sewer systems, policies include:

  • Adapting regulations to support infill and redevelopment, and enhancing those opportunities downtown
  • Encouraging adaptive reuse of current buildings
  • Working closely with historic preservation partners regarding historic assets
  • Reviewing + providing mechanisms for affordable housing + missing middle housing