Connec+ing MKE - Downtown Plan 2040

Designing Downtown's Future, Together

The City of Milwaukee's Department of City Development (DCD) and Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 co-led a comprehensive planning process with the community to shape the next two decades of development, policies, and programs that enable a more walkable, vibrant, diverse, inclusive and resilient downtown. 

"Connec+ing MKE - Downtown Plan 2040" serves as an update to the 2010 Downtown Area Plan, which has been the blueprint for downtown's transformation over the past decade. Projects first identified in the 2010 Downtown Area Plan that have since been completed include transforming the Park East Corridor with projects like the North End and the Deer District, revitalizing West Wisconsin Avenue, enhancing pedestrian connections between the Historic Third Ward and central business district, and developing the downtown lakefront. 

Connec+ing MKE: Downtown Plan 2040 Brochure

Advancing the Adopted Plan

Thank you to all who participated by providing input. The City of Milwaukee received unprecedented feedback, including commentary from residents in every zip code in the City of Milwaukee.

After a nearly two-year planning process, the plan was adopted by the Common Council on July 31, 2023, following the approvals from the City Plan Commission and Zoning, Neighborhood & Development Committee. Plan recommendations will now be furthered as we do our part on the implementation. View the final plan in Issuu.

View the City's Complete Plan

Creating an Innovative City

Cities across the country are meeting today's challenges with innovative solutions to ensure that downtown remains a competitive place to live, work, learn, and play. Understanding the community's racial disparities, a shifting work environment, global climate change, and their collective impact on our region will influence our plan.  

In addition, COVID-19 has impacted nearly every aspect of daily life in the city, but never more apparent than the innovative approaches to public spaces, streets, and parks. Locally, the City of Milwaukee's Active Streets for Business program allowed for tactical improvements in our built environment and enhanced the pedestrian experience by often reallocating a vehicular traffic lane for cafe seating and expanded sidewalks. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of public space and its critical role in our communities.

Connec+ing MKE - Downtown Plan 2040 will address these factors and how to shape a resilient city center for the next generation. 

Meet The Project Team

The City of Milwaukee's Department of City Development (DCD) and Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 are co-leading the update to the 2010 Downtown Are Plan. The Project Leadership Team includes representation from DCD, Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, Milwaukee County, Historic King Drive BID, Westown Association, MKE United, and the City of Milwaukee's Department of Public Works. The project team is also supported by TKWA (The Kubala Washatko Architects) and P3 Development Group, LLC. 

Connec+ing MKE - Downtown Plan 2040 reached as many stakeholders as possible through a multifaceted community engagement strategy, including the Project Leadership Team, the Downtown Plan Advisory Group, the Downtown Plan Community Council, and four (4) public meetings.

If you are interested in learning more about Connec+ing MKE - Downtown Plan 2040, contact us at

Rendering of Vel R. Phillips Plaza courtesy of TKWA.

Connec+ing MKE: Downtown Plan 2040 Project Partners