Project Milwaukee: Southern Connections

Cultivating A Regional Corridor

For decades, there’s been talk that Milwaukee and Chicago would grow together into one large urban area. Some planners are convinced southeastern Wisconsin’s best chances for growth include a strong connection to Chicago.

Others say the merging of the metropolitan areas is inevitable because the nation is spreading out, in terms of housing and jobs. However, groups promoting regionalism say it’s a deliberate effort, and not everyone shares the same vision for the future.

During June 2011, WUWM examined which communities in this corridor are growing and why as well as the history of the region, transportation concerns and environmental assets and challenges.

OECD elaboration with data from Census 2000 County and County Equivalent Areas Cartographic Boundary Files, US Census Bureau

Marquette Law School convenes a conference on Tuesday on ways that Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana can think regionally regarding economic cooperation. 

The conference, Public Attitudes in the Chicago Megacity: Who are we, and what are the possibilities?, will bring government and business leaders to examine public attitudes regarding regional economic cooperation.

Panelists represented interests ranging from politics to business to the environment.

Tom Hicken

We wrap up our Project Milwaukee: Southern Connections series on development in the region between Milwaukee and Chicago with one of its highlights: our community forum. It was held Wednesday, June 8, 2011 before a live studio audience at the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread in Racine. WUWM invited a panel of civic leaders, planners and business leaders to discuss the pros and cons of cultivating the corridor from Milwaukee to the state line. In part one of the forum, we ask questions of each panelist, followed by a broader conversation.

Tom Hicken

We wrap up our Project Milwaukee: Southern Connections series on development in the region between Milwaukee and Chicago with one of its highlights: our community forum. It was held Wednesday, June 8, 2011 before a live studio audience at the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread in Racine. During the second part of the forum, we ask transit related questions and open up the forum to audience questions.

DCD Commissioner Rocky Marcoux says Milwaukee benefits even when companies locate elsewhere in southeastern Wisconsin.

Our Project Milwaukee: Southern Connections series asks whether cities the size of Racine or Kenosha can support a distinct arts community, or if regional approaches to culture is the way to go. Bruce Pepich is the Executive Director and Curator of Collections at the Racine Art Museum. He was recently awarded the Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award for his 37 years at the museum. He spoke with Bonnie North.

Regional development also involves the creation of community life; our Project Milwaukee: Southern Connections series looks at where the performing arts meet development. Chad Piechocki is the director of the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center. The center holds performances at an auditorium it shares with South Milwaukee High School on 15th Avenue.

We look at perspectives south of the Wisconsin-Illinois border as our series on regionalism continues.

Community leaders say a skilled and educated workforce along with transportation options for it, are keys to ensuring the economic success of southeastern Wisconsin.

For Project Milwaukee: Southern Connections, one analyst says Wisconsin has nothing to fear Chicago's growth northward. Julio Rivera is Provost at Carthage College in Kenosha. He's the chair of the Geography department and also teaches earth science. He also runs the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) lab. His research looks at the development of suburban communities and urban planning. He spoke with Stephanie Lecci.

We discuss of the role culture plays in regional growth as part of our Project Milwaukee: Southern Connections series. Paula Touhey is the Director of the Kenosha Public Museums, which include the Kenosha Public Museum, the Kenosha Civil War Museum, and the Dinosaur Discovery Museum. We spoke with her at her office in Kenosha. We’ll continue our look at the place of culture in the regional economy on tomorrow's show.

This week WUWM is reporting on the potential of regional development within the corridor spanning from Milwaukee south to the greater Chicago area.

Today we poke into the health of the region's environment. We hear alerts when the air quality is poor because of exhaust and the particular air flow here – and air pollution can thwart the development of new factories. And we've been hearing plenty about the threat of Asian carp to Lake Michigan, coming via Chicago's link with the Mississippi River.

But WUWM Environmental Reporter Susan Bence learned about two projects in the region having healing affects on their surroundings.

Project Milwaukee: How Land Use is Planned

Jun 9, 2011

As Project Milwaukee continues, we hear how communities in the southern corridor approach land-use planning. Each city, town and village has its own comprehensive land use plan, but some wish planning was conducted more regionally.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Patricia Jursik insists the future economy of southeast Wisconsin needs roads, rail and bus to move workers to jobs.

A key ingredient to economic development is transportation. So as we continue our series, Project Milwaukee – Southern Connections, we explore transportation in southeast Wisconsin.

We spent time chatting with Milwaukee County Supervisor Patricia Jursik, a long time proponent of extending roadways and transit systems south to the state line. Here are a few opinions she shared.


We continue our Project Milwaukee: Southern Connections series with a look at how the aerotropolis model of development is being implemented in Milwaukee. Dr. John Kasarda is the Director of the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise and Kenan Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina. He also directs the Kenan Institute’s Center for Air Commerce.