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Thread: Milwaukee redevelopment, your thoughts!

  1. #1

    Milwaukee redevelopment, your thoughts!

    Interested in any thoughts on Milwaukee's current development and a shift towards using the new art museum as a new representation of the city's brand image.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I've been to the new art museum addition. It is an outstanding building set beautifully on Lake Michigan. The bridge to downtown gives added access to the waterfront, which is great. I am unaware of any using this as a branding tool.

    It would be in a sense too bad, as there is a lot more to that town than just the museum. The downtown is full of solid early 20th centrury commercial buildings and the park system along the waterfront is outstanding. I would think too much focus on one building may make others dismiss these parts of the city.

  3. #3

    New Brand Images

    Here is a copy of the brand image created for the city, and the convention bureau's adoption of the new logo into their own logo. The convention bureau recently changed its name from "The Greater Milwaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau" to "VISIT Milwaukee"




  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Milwaukee is a much more interesting city than many people think. It has some great buildings, neighborhoods, and natural resources such as Lake Michigan. None of these, however, is a distinctive feature in the same way as, say, the Sears Tower or Hancock Center in Chicago, the Seattle Space Needle, the Golden Gate Bridge, or their like. These remarkable structures are symbolic of their communities, so why shouldn't Milwaukee build on the identity of the Calatrava-designed museum?
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  5. #5
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    Promotion of art vs. culture

    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    so why shouldn't Milwaukee build on the identity of the Calatrava-designed museum?
    Alot of cities are using the formula of entertainment district + art museum = success. Kansas City (Kemper), Los Angeles (Getty), Baton Rouge(Shaw Center), Fort Worth (Kimbell).
    Its nice to have art, but what makes a city great is creativity and culture not art, and art does not equal culture. Once you have creativity and culture it does not necessarily mean financial prosperity. It seems a number of cities think it does equal prosperity by the way they pour millions into art.
    The South Bronx, home of rap, modern grafitti and major elements of hip-hop (the most popular artistic form in the world) is in shambles. Same with Detroit, home of dance techno and arguably punk rock. The common thread is that the two above cities considered the creativity of their citizens to be illegitamate.

    Now take a look at Germany (Berlin) and what the citizens and the city have done with the American-born modern techno music, or Antwerp's and the steps they have taken to support graffiti; even designating spaces for graf artists to work.

    Art does not make your city. Sure Milwaukee has a great museum, so does New York, Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Detroit, Boston, Chicago, etc. What will make someone go to Milwaukee? If everyone starts putting up a museum it defeats the purpose of creativity. If you have the tourist/interest base (e.g. Austin) to support it then go ahead.

    My critique of Milwaukee would be to promote local creativity no matter how much you don't like it. Hell, it may be some take off a cultural tradition from El Salvador practiced by immigrants instead of European art. Maybe Milwaukee is promoting their own culture, if so, my bad.

    The only problem is that American underground culture is usually associated with drugs, violence, debauchery, etc; like rock and roll, punk rock, grafitti, rap, blues, jazz, techno. I would still find a way to indirectly promote it, like publicizing the scene/movement when talking about the city and making sure no city policy is impeding its growth, making sure they have a home if the movement is transient.

    I agree with Richard Florida here, culture isn't like a sports team where you can actively recruit it, most cities have culture you just have you find it. And Richard Florida is criticized for including workers as creative individuals. He is right. Entrepreneurs can be creative and ultimately businesses and schools drive the economy. Art will never be the economic engine of a city because it does not distrbute enough wealth. Its that simple. New Orleans comes close but that is mainly culture, not art; the experience not necessarily something that was bought with a price tag.

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  6. #6
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    Milwaukee is a much more interesting city than many people think. It has some great buildings, neighborhoods, and natural resources such as Lake Michigan. None of these, however, is a distinctive feature in the same way as, say, the Sears Tower or Hancock Center in Chicago, the Seattle Space Needle, the Golden Gate Bridge, or their like. These remarkable structures are symbolic of their communities, so why shouldn't Milwaukee build on the identity of the Calatrava-designed museum?
    Since this replaces an image that was decidedly and deliberately 'blue collar' (harking to the area's solid blue-collar industrial persona, with a myriad of heavy industrial companies such Allen-Bradley, Patrick Cudahy, Miller Brewing and Harley-Davidson historically dominating the local economy), it is probably ok. They bring in money and economic activity, but they don't sell all that well to tourists (well, except maybe for H-D and Miller ) or with companies thinking of moving an administrative office or boardroom into the area. To try to get around that, they are trying to build a non-blue collar architectural 'brand' in the same manner as Sydney (as in Australia) has built a 'brand' on their opera house and harbor bridge.

    The biggest problem that they have is trying to shed the 'beer, bratwurst and bowling' workday aura while not making themselves look like nothing more than just another suburb of Chicago. I wish them the best.

    Mike

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Nice building....

    ...I wonder how well it is being integrated into the city, especially as it is at the lake edge, past some sort of thruway accessible by a pretty but long and wind-wipped footbridge. I guess if there are plenty of shpos and other attractions in the periphery of it it would be good

    parking/transit ---> attractions ---> WOW building

    The wonderful-looking Calattrava in Tenerife is a bit stuck in nowehrland, a major obvious fault.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  8. #8
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I would think that most of the world woould not know about Milwaukee's art museum. Yes its a nice museum addition, but there are better collections of art (though I do remember an awsome collection on commercial art done by local companies). The serious art person would rather go to the Museum in Chicago if they are in the area.

    Its only us planning and architecture dweebs that would drive to see this museum. Sadly I agree that this museum has not had enough attention placed on it. I went to a lakefront festival the year before the museum opened up and I saw the addition for the first time... I asked the persons I was there with (Wisconsonites) "What is that, and why the heck have I not heard about such a great piece of architecture before?" The Museum addition adds to the strength along the waterfront and compliements the parks and festival grounds. It also provides a great link to downtown proper.

    The big question is however if not this, what would I replace it with? A polka player? A can of beer? A Harley? With those options I would think that this is most appropriate.

    When the renaissance center opened in Detroit, nearly every propmotional thing for the city had the billion pound gorrilla that killed downtown by trying to save it on the logo. Most folks who lived here, unless they had business to do in the building never went to it. Tourists would go, but would get lost by its shear size and duplicative geometry. I would hate to see people in Millwaukee get sick of looking at that logo as the museum is still something very special -- its design, location, and good art collection, along with the ability to now host major shows are a benefit to the city; unlike the ren-cen was to Detroit.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    ...I wonder how well it is being integrated into the city, especially as it is at the lake edge, past some sort of thruway accessible by a pretty but long and wind-wipped footbridge. I guess if there are plenty of shpos and other attractions in the periphery of it it would be good

    parking/transit ---> attractions ---> WOW building
    Milwaukee's lakefront is an attraction in itself, north and south of the Art Museum. A series of open parkland, wooded bluffs, marinas, and beaches stretch along three miles of shoreline to the north-- no private development, so as to keep Milwaukee's "front yard" accessible to the public. Just next door to the Art Museum on the north is the Milwauee County War Memorial Center (1957 - Eero Saarinen) is another "object" building on the lakefront. To the south of the museum, the Pier Wisconsin Center is being constructed--an interactive science museum and aquatic/marine education center. It is also the summertime home to the Dennis Sullivan schooner (which sails up and down the lake during summer). A new dock is also supposed to be constructed nearby for large passenger ships (they currently dock down in the industrial port area, away from downtown). And just south of that, is the Festival Park, where most of our summertime ethnic festivals and music festivals are held. And, immediately to the east of that, is a small man-made island on which the Lakeshore State Park is currently being developed (camping, on the lakefront, in the city!).

    Other attractions, like the convention center, sports arenas, and shopping district are located a few blocks inland, about a half-mile away from the lakefront. Right now there are no hotels adjacent to the lakefront, but that could likely change in the not-so-distant future as there are a few developers who are actively seeking anchor tenants for their proposed high/mid-rises near the lakefront.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian urbanchik's avatar
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    I like the logo a lot and think it represents Milwaukee well. The city is amazing - one of my favorites. I love its parks, people, history, culture, architecture and blue-collar roots and sense of pride. My family is from the city, and my Mom is particular was absolutley astonished when she visited a couple years ago for the first time since the 80's. "Downtown used to be a dump, now it is beautiful!" she said. There are great bars, rehabs, and activites in the center city now, so the city is full of energy considering its size.

    My younger cousins all live in the city, a place they never thought they would want to live 10 years ago. Milwaukee may never be a Chicago or New York, but I think that is is a good thing. It is a very livable city, with strong neighborhoods and a good transportation system (I heard that the airport will now be connected to a rail terminal). It is also very affordable. Downtown lofts start in the mid 100's!!!!

    Like many urban areas, however, it needs to improve its schools. Families are needed to keep the city strong, and they wont stay if the school system sucks or is dangerous. That is Detroit's greatest challenge right now....
    urbanchik

  11. #11
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by urbanchik
    I like the logo a lot and think it represents Milwaukee well. The city is amazing - one of my favorites. I love its parks, people, history, culture, architecture and blue-collar roots and sense of pride. My family is from the city, and my Mom is particular was absolutley astonished when she visited a couple years ago for the first time since the 80's. "Downtown used to be a dump, now it is beautiful!" she said. There are great bars, rehabs, and activites in the center city now, so the city is full of energy considering its size.

    My younger cousins all live in the city, a place they never thought they would want to live 10 years ago. Milwaukee may never be a Chicago or New York, but I think that is is a good thing. It is a very livable city, with strong neighborhoods and a good transportation system (I heard that the airport will now be connected to a rail terminal). It is also very affordable. Downtown lofts start in the mid 100's!!!!

    Like many urban areas, however, it needs to improve its schools. Families are needed to keep the city strong, and they wont stay if the school system sucks or is dangerous. That is Detroit's greatest challenge right now....
    The Milwauee-Airport Amtrak station ('MKA') opened a few months ago, it is connected to the terminal by a series of roadways that run directly between the two and shuttle bus service is provided. It is an unattended station served by Amtrak's six daily round-trip Hiawatha service trains and is built using a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired 'Prairie Style' design. Pretty kewl looking.

    I too am amazed that, among other things, two 30 or so floor residential buildings are currently under construction at the northeast edge of downtown Milwaukee.

    Mike

  12. #12
    Cyburbian GISgal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920
    The Milwauee-Airport Amtrak station ('MKA') opened a few months ago, it is connected to the terminal by a series of roadways that run directly between the two and shuttle bus service is provided. It is an unattended station served by Amtrak's six daily round-trip Hiawatha service trains and is built using a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired 'Prairie Style' design. Pretty kewl looking.

    I too am amazed that, among other things, two 30 or so floor residential buildings are currently under construction at the northeast edge of downtown Milwaukee.

    Mike
    Nothing amazing about the rebirth of downtown. Alot of work was put into it by the former Milwaukee mayor Norquist. For all the scandal caused by his own Clinton-Lewinski incident the man had a passion for the city. He hired visionary people and worked very hard the sixteen years he was in office. The former city planner worked hard with the mayor as well. They established a focus creating the downtown as an entertainment district (failed stadium attempt, the Menomenee Valley (bringing the calatrava bridge to ground replacing the sixth street viaduct), the art museum, HoChunk casino, and refocusing the Summerfest grounds to reintegrate with the city grid (a big stress for many projects in the city)), but also tried to reestablish the downtown as a place to live (Brewer's Hill, the Third Ward, Fifth Ward, Brady Street, and trying to rehabilitate the Milwaukee River corridor to name a few of the neighborhoods they focused on).

    So getting to the logo I think the use of the Milwaukee Art Museum as a symbol is great idea and if marketing the city as a "suburb to Chicago" so be it. IMHO I think Milwaukee has been trying to outdo this city and maybe being an extension would not be a bad thing to help bring a more regional approach towards economic development. Chicago's O'Hare already routes a majority of its air traffic to Mitchell and many people commute from Bayview, Kenosha, and Racine to Chicago I don't think the idea is too far off.
    I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward. - Thomas Edison

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