Wisconsin’s largest public housing neighborhood has successfully begun to transform from a stressed community into a 21st century mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhood. The project’s innovation lies in its inextricable approach to social, environmental and financial sustainability.
The completed first phase of the comprehensive plan is a model for large scale and sustainable affordable communities. Every town home was designed to the standards of LEED for Homes Platinum Certification, and the neighborhood has achieved LEED ND Silver stage 3 certification.
The $82 million first phase, funded through the largest Low-Income Tax Credit award in Wisconsin’s history, has been completed. 250 homes were designed in a diverse mix of town homes and two geothermally heated apartment buildings that line pedestrian friendly streets and open spaces. The diversity of styles and types, both a request from the community and client, create vibrant, safe streetscapes, and welcoming homes.
Over 50 years old, with over 700 public housing units on 75 acres, this Milwaukee neighborhood’s previous barracks housing inadequately met the needs of its 1,771 residents. Superblocks isolated it from its surroundings, physically and socially. The housing contained severely undersized floor plans for growing families and outdated storm water and energy systems. Through an inclusive process, the planning team developed long term strategies to transform the neighborhood into a healthy and empowering place to live.
The LEED ND Silver neighborhood utilizes innovative storm water strategies and incorporates a 30,000 sf community garden supported by an on site renowned local food non-profit.
Future phases within the larger master plan will continue to revitalize the neighborhood, mixing market rate housing and mixed use with affordable homes. The plan calls for continuing the high environmental building standards put forth in the first phase, as well as new opportunities to strengthen this neighborhoods vitality for years to come.