Milwaukee encompasses 98.6 square miles and lies adjacent to Lake Michigan at the confluence of the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic Rivers. Most of the city's neighborhoods are walkable, have a variety of land uses, and include amenities such as numerous County and other local parks and playgrounds, all interconnected through a street grid system. However, many other neighborhoods face challenges, partly as a result of the increasing number of vacant lots, underused former manufacturing and industrial land, and lack of access to parks and open space.
The productive reuse of vacant lots, with no buildings or Brownfield areas (former industrial or manufacturing properties with environmental contamination), is critical to creating sustainable neighborhood-based amenities. Additionally, the protection and creation of riparian features, including wetlands and environmental corridors, should also be a focus of creating neighborhood-based amenities through productive reuse while protecting and revitalizing natural areas to create a more sustainable urban ecosystem.