State of Wisconsin and Others


Milwaukee Downtown Lakefront Revitalization

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1 mile of Lake Michigan shoreline , 1.6 km of Lake Michigan shoreline , 17 acres, 7 hectares

Engineering, Landscape Architecture, Master Planning, Programming, Urban Planning and Design

Engineering Achievement Award, Award of Excellence -- General Design, Paul Waterbury Award -- Outdoor Lighting, International Illumination Design Awards (IIDA)

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“SmithGroupJJR's efforts not only help establish a beautiful project, they do so in a way that creates a strategy for keeping the new development alive and sustainable for future generations to enjoy.”

—Chuck Ward, Past President, Pier Wisconsin, Ltd.


SmithGroupJJR worked with the Port, City and State to create a development plan for a major downtown cultural and recreational district, spanning one mile of Milwaukee's Lake Michigan waterfront. Over the next decade, the firm's interdisciplinary design expertise and community consensus-building played a pivotal role in the implementation of this waterfront vision.

The central public space is Lakeshore State Park, a 17-acre man-made island and Wisconsin's first urban state park, connected to the shore by a signature custom bridge. Several other projects were integrated with park development, including Milwaukee Art Museum expansion, regional trail connections, and the new Discovery World maritime museum and cruise ship center at Pier Wisconsin.

SmithGroupJJR's facilitation skills brought historically divergent groups together around a shared lakefront vision. The design has reshaped Milwaukee's lakefront as a major visitor destination and source of community pride.

Related Content

ASCE Sustainability Case Study
Case study highlighting sustainable benefits of Milwaukee Lakefront Revitalization.

Lakefront Renaissance
The transformation of Milwaukee's lakefront is featured in this Civil Engineering magazine article written by SmithGroupJJR waterfront specialists.