The Milwaukee Method of Creative Placemaking

The Milwaukee Method focuses on culturally-sensitive neighborhood development based on the interests of independent and institutional stakeholders. The method acknowledges that cultural workers such as artists, makers, and creative entrepreneurs are critical to influencing neighborhood development.

The Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC) formed the Creative Placemaking Committee in fall 2014 to foster local support for creative placemaking and contribute to an emerging national dialogue in the field. The National Endowment for the Arts in collaboration with national and local foundations looking for effective ways to create economic prosperity and cultural vibrancy within communities. In alignment with these efforts, the GMC and its partners are developing The Milwaukee Method of Creative Placemaking, convening a cultural leadership network, and facilitating creative placemaking projects in neighborhoods across the city. This new initiative stems from a long history of the GMC’s investment in Milwaukee as a vibrant place to live, learn, work, and play.

Defining The Milwaukee Method of Creative Placemaking

The Milwaukee Method of Creative Placemaking (The Milwaukee Method) embraces the following national framework for creative placemaking:

  • Unifies the arts and culture with economic and community development

  • Accelerates neighborhood development by creating civic gathering places

  • Increases density, safety, business creation, tax base, and property values

  • Strengthens public and private alignments

  • Supports artists, makers, and other cultural workers to co-lead neighborhood engagement processes The Milwaukee Method additionally includes these core values:

  • Amplifies an authentic local voice with respect to the history and current culture of neighborhoods, the city, and the region

  • Extends the long-term commitment to neighborhoods

  • Creates a platform for community discussion among neighbors that may feel separate due to a host of cultural or economic conditions

  • Cultivates an intergenerational network of cultural leaders versed in creative placemaking who foster public dialogue around complex cultural subjects

  • Advocates for a range of redevelopment opportunities at various scales

  • Learns from historic investment in public spaces and architecture

  • Repurposes buildings, materials, and human resources

  • Links people to public space and to natural resources like freshwater lakes and rivers via a city-wide trail network

  • Attracts and retains talent through an interesting and vibrant city

  • Ignites creative entrepreneurs and artists to grow businesses and develop markets

  • Leverages the accessible scale of the city

  • Grows existing tendencies for cross-sector alignment

  • Focuses on evolving definitions of work and income-generation in response to an industrial past

Attached document published April 2015

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