Equitable Zoning: National and Local Perspectives presentation by Susan Henderson, architect and co-founder of Placemakers, LLC, Sam Leichtling, City Planning Manager for the City of Milwaukee’s Department of City Development, and Tamara “Tammy” Szudy, Planning and Zoning Manager for the City of Wauwatosa.

The Innovative Cities Lecture Series

Equitable Zoning: National and Local Perspectives

Lecture Summary:

Learn about local efforts and national best practices to update zoning codes and policies to advance planning goals including equity, affordability, and sustainability through zoning. Panelists will discuss the ongoing Growing MKE initiative to update Milwaukee’s zoning code to support housing growth and choice, Zone Tosa for All report and implementation, and provide national perspective on successes and challenges in zoning for equity.


Susan Henderson is an architect and one of the founders of PlaceMakers, LLC, an award-winning urban design practice focusing on placemaking, inclusive social and economic opportunity, public health and wellness, and robust community engagement. PlaceMakers helps local governments align growth and development with community vision. Susan is a LEED Accredited Professional, and brings an expertise in sustainability to all of her design work. She is co-author of the Lean Code Tool, a contributor to the SmartCode & Manual, Lean Comp Plan Tool, and author of the SmartCode Landscape Module. Susan is a founding faculty of CNU’s Project for Code Reform, assisting local governments in determining their local capacity and crafting code reform to create more engaging and sustainable places. Susan is the past Chair of the board for the Congress for the New Urbanism and continues to serve on the board.

Sam Leichtling is the City Planning Manager for the City of Milwaukee’s Department of City Development, leading the City Planning Division in carrying out neighborhood and strategic planning, zoning and urban design initiatives, and advising the City Plan Commission. DCD is currently undertaking the Growing MKE initiative to update the Comprehensive Plan and the portions of the City of Milwaukee’s Zoning Code regulating housing development to advance the City’s goals for housing growth and choice. Recent major strategic planning projects carried out by DCD have included the development of the Water and Land Use Plan for Milwaukee’s Harbor District, the Equitable Growth through Transit Oriented Development planning initiative, Connec+ing MKE: Downtown Plan 2040, and the City of Milwaukee’s Anti-Displacement Plan.

Sam has worked for the City of Milwaukee since 2008, including serving as the Program Director for the City of Milwaukee’s Neighborhood Improvement Development Corporation (NIDC), a City-affiliated non-profit that administers housing and neighborhood development programs. Sam’s work in housing and neighborhood development included developing and implementing the recommendations of the Milwaukee Foreclosure Partnership Initiative, leading Milwaukee’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program activities, and launching multiple loan and grant programs to support affordable housing development and rehabilitation.

Sam is a proud graduate of Milwaukee Public Schools, holds master’s degrees in Urban Planning and Public Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a bachelor’s degree from Carleton College. Sam is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and a National Development Council certified Housing Development Finance Professional (HDFP).

Tamara “Tammy” Szudy is the Planning and Zoning Manager for the City of Wauwatosa. She is responsible for managing the Planning Division, administering zoning ordinances, and reviewing development projects. Currently, Tammy and her team are developing a new comprehensive plan for the city. Tammy received her bachelor’s degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

AICP-CM credits will be awarded.

Questions, comments?

All lectures are free and open to planners, students, staff, faculty, and friends of the University. Please contact Blythe Waldbillig, Department of Urban Planning Project Assistant at