The University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee presents Resolution 2014, featuring UWM’s Design & Visual Communication students in their final show. This year, our students ventured into five Milwaukee communities known for their diversity, spirit, and leadership, where they collaborated with community leaders, organizations and each other to create projects that celebrate each neighborhood. In conjunction with honoring their favorite landmarks in Milwaukee close to home and how the city has shaped them both as a person and as a designer, the event will showcase the innovative additions they have contributed to their respective communities and highlight the journey taken over the last few months.
Venturing into the five different neighborhoods – Harambee, Thurston Woods, Riverwest, Lindsay Heights, and Walker’s Point – the students split up into groups and documented and strived to understand the community and how they could bring their skills to help. After meeting with leaders in their respective neighborhoods, collaboration began to happen. Some groups interacted with the people living their day to day life, while others met with community organizers in an effort to build a plan. From there, the students generated ideas and drew sketches to bring their concepts to life.
Milwaukee’s Harambee Neighborhood is located west of the Milwaukee river, situated between Holton Avenue and the north/south freeway. With a rich African American identity, the neighborhood has a history as Milwaukee’s ‘Bronzeville’, and served as an intersection for politicians, jazz musicians, civil rights activists and business owners.
Harambee is Swahili for ‘pulling together’ and in this spirit our initiative aims to involve Harambee residents in creating a vision for their community to determine priorities. We aim to include physical, social, and economic improvements to support local businesses and resources to strengthen neighborhood identity and improve quality of life.
Riverwest is bright, vivid and friendly: it’s an obvious observation while spending time in the community. After acquiring some interesting input from the residents of Riverwest, some apparent conclusions were made: Riverwest is diverse; Riverwest has a strong sense of local, public art; the people who live there love their community and their neighbors, and most wouldn’t consider living anywhere else. Even though most feedback from the residents was positive, there were two evident unfavorable aspects for Riverwest natives and that was crime, especially at night, and excessive litter.
Therefore, our goal as a group is to keep the brightness of Riverwest consistent even after the sun goes down. We decided a beautifully designed kiosk/landmark could not only light up the darker areas of the community to help people traveling by foot feel safer and provide information about nearby trash receptacles, but it could also serve other purposes that would elevate the already-existing positive characteristics of the community. The goal of this neighborhood kiosk ultimately is to connect the community, educate the community, and keep it safe and clean.