Branden Klayko

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.

Joe Sonka

Joe Sonka

Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]