Branden Klayko, founder of the local urban design and planning website Broken Sidewalk, has died after a yearlong battle with leukemia.
Since Klayko founded the website nearly a decade ago, Broken Sidewalk has been indispensable reading for Louisvillians interested in the urban core of their city — whether that be the latest development proposal, a historic preservation debate, the city’s approach to transportation, or strategies to reverse the proliferation of surface parking downtown. The reason for the website’s success and popularity was clearly both Klayko’s professional expertise on urbanism combined with his love of the city.
Klayko founded Broken Sidewalk while working as an architect in Louisville in 2008, and though he moved to New York City soon afterward, he kept the site going for the seven years he lived there, with the help of contributing writers.
Last year Klayko returned to Louisville, and in May 2016, he announced on Facebook that he had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Klayko announced to his readers in February of this year that his health was improving after going though a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy in late 2016, and he began to write again more frequently, marrying his wife Melissa Baird in April of this year.
Four weeks ago, however, he announced a setback in his health with the onset of graft-versus-host disease, which he described as debilitating. He thanked his friends for their patience, encouragement and prayers over the last year.
Klayko grew up in Louisville, graduating from Trinity High School in 2002. He went on to Washington University in St. Louis, where he graduated with a degree in architecture.
A message posted to his Facebook page Sunday stated that Klayko’s funeral will be held Friday at Pearson’s Funeral Home, 149 Breckenridge Lane, with the visitation there from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday. Per his wishes, Klayko’s family has asked that those wishing to donate on Branden’s behalf give to the Louisville Historical League, of which he was a board member.
Since the news of Klayko’s death spread among those who loved him and admired his work, people have shared their grief on social media.
Branden Klayko had a big role in the creation of City Collaborative. Words can not express how much we will miss him https://t.co/jR00SOM61W
— City Collaborative (@CityCollab) June 19, 2017
Fellow urbanists, I am sad to inform you that Branden Klayko @bklayko of Broken Sidewalk has passed away (per his Facebook page).
— Aaron M. Renn ?? (@urbanophile) June 19, 2017
Can’t imagine how his friends & family are hurting now. ?
— Ben Carter (@notbencarter) June 19, 2017
— Joe Dunman (@JoeDunman) June 19, 2017
— KY Place (@ky_place) June 19, 2017
Branden Klayko was an invaluable asset to the Louisville planning community; more importantly, he was an honest and kind friend to many.
— Matthew Beck (@mister_beck) June 19, 2017
Branden Klayko was a visionary. Louisville’s greatest advocate. A mentor and friend. May we all carry his passion forward.
— Elijah McKenzie ? (@hulloweliyah) June 19, 2017