Cities possess a singular appeal. The proximity of people and activities in cities facilitates efficient use of land and transportation systems and creation of convivial public spaces. Milwaukee must encourage development of housing, commerce and transportation systems that embrace its urban heritage. The city must recognize its unique assets and build upon its strength as the core of a major metropolitan area.
Coordinated planning and development effectively integrate many elements. Quality housing that enhances a sense of community among neighborhood residents; attractive customer-friendly commercial streets; greenspace offering recreational amenities and a diverse array of transportation options represent only a few of the many elements that, when well designed, contribute to good urban form. Milwaukee must promote urban design practices that emphasize the public qualities of buildings and creation of places with lasting value and civic meaning.
New buildings should be designed in ways that retain the traditional qualities of Milwaukee’s architecture. This does not mean that new buildings should nostalgically imitate historical styles. In fact, to do so would be contrary to the creative design traditions that produced Milwaukee’s rich architectural legacy. Timeless design principles should be followed that produce architecture that fits with its context and is human scaled. New buildings should be designed to be compatible with neighboring structures, spaces and activities. Visually interesting and human-scaled building facades should prevail over sterile, windowless walls - especially when facing public spaces.
Diversity is the city’s unique strength. The rich mix of uses found in Milwaukee’s neighborhoods provides convenience, vitality and individual identity. The transportation network binds the city together. Milwaukee must be organized around a transportation network that offers mobility choice. Needs of pedestrians and automobiles should be balanced to create a legible, walkable and memorable public realm.
Combining good design with the city's rich architectural heritage will maintain its unique, attractive, "people-friendly" environment and further enhance Milwaukee’s residents' quality of life.
The following design principles articulate those unique qualities that characterize Milwaukee’s neighborhoods, and are meant to promote development and redevelopment that reinforce and preserve these characteristics.