Why Sustainability Matters to Milwaukee

Sustainability can be thought of as a concept that supports and balances three pillars of demands: environmental (the planet), economic (business profits), and social (people). Short-term benefits for one pillar may have significant negative outcomes for another pillar. Sustainability considers whether the impacts are good for the planet, profits, and people.

For cities to not only survive but also to thrive in the 21st century, they must embrace environmental sustainability and acknowledge the economic benefits of taking the long view toward building a better, more livable city. City-planning conversations within growing world cities, like Copenhagen, Vancouver, and Portland, show that all share a common foundational belief: sustainability matters. These cities attract young professionals, entrepreneurs, businesses, visitors, and investment capital not by accident, but through purposeful action around sustainability. Sustainability is a way of life, a business ethic, and a lens through which civic leadership makes development decisions.

This strategic action plan seeks to make the vision and actions related to sustainability a reality for Milwaukeeans in their neighborhoods, so that these building blocks become a strong, vibrant foundation of our local economy, a foundation on which we can thrive and truly live up to our name as "America's Fresh Coast Capital."

The Milwaukee Skyline


The Planning Pyramid


The Planning Pyramid (graphic above) provides visual guidance for the community on how the Sustainability Plan addresses the eight main themes in a way that also meets residents' critical need for jobs, safer neighborhoods, and access to educational opportunities. By setting goals that generate the necessary base conditions for sustainability, residents and businesses can achieve outcomes, like job creation and safer neighborhoods, which ultimately support a movement toward greater community sustainability.

The goals and targets within each of the chapters provide a strategic framework, or roadmap, for encouraging individual responsibility, City leadership, and purposeful action that will ultimately lead to collective benefits for our city.

Click on the links above to see fresh ideas for America's Fresh Coast Capital!