Creative Placemaking

Transforming a South Side Neighborhood

Published June 1, 2016
From Urban Milwaukee

Milwaukee’s Clarke Square neighborhood was in the spotlight for one of the sessions at the National Main Street Center’s annual conference held in Milwaukee last week at the Wisconsin Center. The conference was billed as an event that “brings together a coast-to-coast network of city planners, community revitalization professionals, volunteers and elected officials working to sustain the future of America’s historic downtowns.” But the sessions ranged more widely, to include development beyond downtowns.

Sara Daleiden, a cultural production consultant with the Greater Milwaukee Committee, described several projects that have focused on reimagining West Wisconsin Avenue, including temporary installations, NEWaukee-hosted night markets and Creative Alliance Milwaukee’s The Spot4MKE project. Daleiden said these initiatives have shown the “public space is really wanted.” She hopes that development of a city-owned lot on Wisconsin between 4th and 5th streets will include a public space. She is also working with the GMC on projects relating to a citywide trail network that includes walkable city streets. GMC has also developed “The Milwaukee Method of Creative Placemaking,” which Daleiden described as focusing on investing in public spaces, repurposing industrial areas and valuing neighborhoods.

All of the above initiatives focus on remaking places. The Project for Public Spaces has been using the term placemaking since the mid-1990s relating to efforts to create or enhance “places that people love.” The nonprofit, which works throughout the world, began in 1975 based on the ideas of William “Holly” Whyte and Jane Jacobs.  Simply bringing people to a place, whether for special events or on a regular basis, affects how a neighborhood evolves socially and economically.

Read the full article here.

MKE Discovers Chicago: New Video

As part of the research and exploration of best practices, a group of partners and participants working on creative placemaking in Milwaukee went on a discovery trip to Chicago to explore some of the leading work in the field.

Projects visited included the work of artist Theaster Gates and the development of the 606 Trail, which brings together arts, history, design, trails for bikers, runners, and walkers, event spaces, alternative transportation avenues, and green, open space.

Check out the video below!

Fund for Lake Michigan awards $1.4 million in grants

Published March 9, 2016
From BizTimes

The Fund for Lake Michigan this week awarded nearly $1.4 million in private grants aimed at improving beaches, reducing polluted runoff and restoring habitat in Wisconsin.

The fund was established in 2011 by We Energies, Madison Gas & Electric and WPPI Energy to safeguard the lake and improve water quality in the region. This round of grants went to 26 different projects throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

A majority of the projects directly impact the Lake Michigan coastline and near shore areas. While other address needs in area watersheds that feed into the lake.

“With water problems increasingly in the news, the fund is delivering on its promise to help protect water resources right here in Wisconsin,” says Vicki Elkin, Fund for Lake Michigan executive director.

Other grants include:

  • City of Algoma ‐ $75,000 to improve water quality and reduce the number of beach closures at Crescent Beach.
  • Harbor District, Inc.  ‐ $40,000 to lead and coordinate efforts to sustainably redevelop and revitalize Milwaukee’s Inner Harbor.
  • Lakeshore Natural Resources Partnership ‐ $30,000 to increase the scope and scale of LNRP’s small grants program.
  • Ozaukee County ‐ $38,500 to identify sources of E. coli that are compromising water quality at Harrington Beach State Park.
  • Racine County ‐ $35,000 to evaluate the condition of existing infrastructure within the Racine Harbor and to identify opportunities for restoration and water quality improvements.
  • Natural Resources Foundation ‐ $60,000 to evaluate how coastal development affects shoreline erosion and how those impacts can be mitigated.
  • University of Wisconsin‐Sea Grant ‐ $17,000 to measure the impacts of beach restoration projects on local communities in Wisconsin.
  • Woodland Dunes Nature Center ‐ $100,000 to restore Forget‐Me‐Not Creek, a two‐mile stream that runs through the nature center’s 1,315‐acre preserve and flows into Lake Michigan just south of Two Rivers.
  • River Alliance of Wisconsin ‐ $84,000 to support the final phases of one of the largest fish passage projects in the country.
  • City of Glendale ‐ $20,000 to use green infrastructure to demonstrate the use of stormwater BMPs at the new Glendale‐Nicolet Recreational Park near the Milwaukee River.
  • City of Milwaukee ‐ $25,000 to design and test a new pilot program to encourage private property owners to retrofit existing parking lots with green infrastructure.
  • Greater Milwaukee Committee ‐ $60,000 to create a linear park along the recently‐completed Beerline Recreational Trail as part of the Beerline Trial Neighborhood Development Project.


For the full article, please click here.

A Letter from the President: September 2015

The Greater Milwaukee Committee’s initiatives – in which many of you are involved – have unique and important impacts on our community. Two of our initiatives in particular are top-of-mind right now.

As you know, the GMC launched the creative placemaking committee last fall. The committee presently focuses on three main areas – the Beerline Trail Extension in Riverwest/Harambee, West Wisconsin Avenue, and Walker’s Point. Last week, the Beerline Trail Extension (also known as Beerline X) hosted events as part of Riverworks Week 2015, an event by Riverworks Development Corporation to showcase the area as Milwaukee’s emerging creative district.

Riverworks Week events included speakers, a “Dolphin Pool,” the Open Air Medina Market and many participating businesses in Doors Open Milwaukee (a celebration on the Beerline X was rescheduled due to severe weather). Hundreds of Riverwest and Harambee neighborhood residents, as well as residents of other Milwaukee neighborhoods, came out to support the week and the important work going on along the trail.

Riverworks Week shows the impact that the GMC and its creative placemaking committee have had on placemaking and economic strategy in Milwaukee. This corridor in Riverwest and Harambee of large industrial buildings often underused or vacant is now redefined as a growing creative district with the buildings now full of micro-creative industries. Real estate brokers and entrepreneurs now see the area as a spine for redevelopment. We look forward to continuing to work with our many community partners – and many of you – to encourage vibrancy, creativity and economic development in Milwaukee.

Our creative placemaking efforts on West Wisconsin Avenue are transforming the way people think and interact with the street. The Avenue is coming alive with over 300 new units of housing and another 400 proposed for development. WAM-DC is active on other redevelopment plans for the area. NEWaukee’s Night Markets bring alive an area in the past seen as empty and unsafe at night. Ten to twelve thousand people showed up for each Night Market this summer. Creative Alliance Milwaukee’s Spot 4MKE is bringing people and life to the long term vacant lot on 4th and Wisconsin.

The GMC’s Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE) initiative exemplifies the impact the GMC can have on innovative talent development strategies. Milwaukee has everything it needs for a thriving economy – small and large businesses, corporate headquarters, college students and plenty of talent – but it often struggles to connect everyone together.

Enter Walk the Talk. MiKE this year is partnering with Creative Alliance Milwaukee to host this one-day conference focusing on the intersection of creativity and innovation. The conference includes workshops and keynotes throughout the Third Ward and Walker’s Point – two of Milwaukee’s most innovative neighborhoods – to move attendees from talk to action.

Walk the Talk, on Wednesday, October 7th, connects artists, entrepreneurs, educators, young professionals, established professionals, industry experts, designers, creatives, and everyone in between, through speakers, workshops, one-on-one conversations with Milwaukee’s “Super Colliders,” a food truck lunch hour, a recess break and more. Showcasing the innovative and creative people, projects and businesses in Milwaukee, Walk the Talk provides a new and unique way for people to connect.

We hope that you’ll share information on Walk the Talk and our creative placemaking work with your networks and beyond.


Julia Taylor

Beerline Trail Extension Grand Opening

Formal construction and the initial landscaping of the Beerline Trail Extension have been completed.

On Monday, August 24th, Mayor Tom Barrett, Alderwoman Milele Coggs, Alderman Nik Kovac, Department of Public Works Commissioner Ghassan Korban, Greater Milwaukee Committee president Julia Taylor, Riverworks Center executive director Darryl Johnson and project coordinator Dasha Kelly presented at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the trail extension.

This extension of the Beerline Trail is an excellent example of “creative placemaking” in Milwaukee. The trail corridor is a former railroad line that historically served the brewing industry. This abandoned rail right-of-way has been reinvented as a multi-use non-motorized trail for walking, running, bicycling, skating and other forms of active transportation and recreation. This extension is the northern end of the existing Beerline Trail, which winds through the Riverwest and Harambee neighborhoods. It includes berm installations and other landscaping to re-establish and support urban wildlife, as well as the ARTery – various art installations – along the trail.

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