Date of Award

August 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Urban Studies

First Advisor

Joseph A. Rodriguez

Committee Members

Joel Rast, Zengwang Xu


Milwaukee, New Urbanism, Urban Planning


By the turn of the twentieth century persisting decay of many large American urban centers signaled the failure of redevelopment efforts to solve inner city problems and to stop destructive patterns of suburban sprawl. This serious concern persuaded many urban specialists to study the history of urban redevelopment in the United States in order to examine the urban problems and to discuss alternative solutions to the demise of U.S. cities. The past two decades have seen a growing turn toward New Urbanism in the revitalization of urban neighborhoods; as an alternative to conventional suburban development and social and environmental problems. The New Urbanism ideally tries to create "community by design" and highlights the value of traditional, walkable, dense, and interconnected mixed-use neighborhoods. For the period of 20 years the city of Milwaukee has relied on neo-traditional and New Urbanist planning to remake its image and promote its downtown as a center of cultural and economic wealth.

Many critics have questioned the role of New Urbanism in improving Milwaukee's landscape and distressed atmosphere, while the city has not grown significantly and racial disparities in income and employment and other "quality-of-life indicators" are highly noticeable in Milwaukee and stand as some of the primary features of the city's urban landscape. The major goal of this study is to examine and evaluate the New Urbanism`s role in revitalization of downtown Milwaukee. For this purpose the study tries to respond to these questions; how do the advocates of New Urbanism and the city leaders in Milwaukee interpret New Urbanism? And how do they perceive the impact of New Urbanist planning on the city's physical and social structure?