The Region of 2050 will be different than the Region of today. The plan anticipates 400,000 more residents and 250,000 more jobs. To maintain the workforce needed to fill these jobs, the Region will need to attract tens of thousands of new residents for the first time in decades. This will put Southeastern Wisconsin in direct competition with other regions across the Country facing the same situation.
To enhance the Region’s competitiveness, VISION 2050 recommends a compact development pattern that ranges from high-density transit-oriented development (TOD), to neighborhoods in smaller communities with housing in easy walking distance of amenities such as parks, schools, and businesses.
Note: VISION 2050 is currently being updated. To learn more, visit the 2024 Review & Update page.
Preserve primary environmental corridors
The best remaining features of the Region’s natural resource base (lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, and woodlands, among others) occur in linear patterns in the landscape. The largest and most well-connected of these linear patterns have been identified as primary environmental corridors. Primary environmental corridors, which encompass about 18 percent of the Region, should be preserved in natural, open uses.
Preserve the Region’s most productive agricultural land
Each county in the Region, except Milwaukee County, has adopted a farmland preservation plan identifying areas to preserve in agricultural use. VISION 2050 proposes these areas, and additional agricultural lands in the Region that have the highest quality soils (Class I and Class II soils), be preserved for agricultural use.
Preserve areas with high groundwater recharge potential
Groundwater is the source of water for agriculture in the Region, and for nearly 40 percent of the Region’s population. Preserving the Region’s primary environmental corridors and prime farmland will preserve substantial areas in the Region with the highest recharge potential.
Focus urban development in areas that can be efficiently served by essential municipal facilities and services
Encourage infill, redevelopment, and new development within and around the urban centers of each county, that is, those communities of each county in the Region with public sanitary sewer service and public water service.
Provide a mix of housing types near employment-supporting land uses
Develop commercial land and business parks in mixed-use settings where compatible, or near a mix of housing types to avoid job-worker mismatches.
Encourage and accommodate economic growth
Encourage economic growth by continuing to develop the 62 existing and developing major economic activity centers in the Region, including a focus on developing and redeveloping long-established major centers. Major centers have a concentration of at least 2,000 retail jobs or 3,500 total jobs.
Develop urban service areas with a mix of housing types and land uses
Allow a mix of housing types, including multi-family housing and single-family homes on smaller lots (one-quarter acre or less). This type of development can be provided with urban infrastructure and services at lower public cost than single-family homes on larger lots, and tends to be more affordable to a wider range of households. Also develop walkable neighborhoods with housing near parks, schools, and businesses.
Focus TOD near rapid transit and commuter rail stations
Focus transit-oriented development (TOD) near rapid transit and commuter rail stations.
Consider cluster subdivision design in residential development outside urban service areas
Accommodate the demand for homes in an open space setting outside urban service areas on a limited basis using cluster subdivision design, with no more than one acre of residential land (house and yard) for each dwelling while maintaining an overall density of one home per five acres. This will minimize impacts to natural and agricultural resources, maintain rural character, and avoid excessive demand on rural public services.
WHAT IS TOD?
TOD is compact, mixed-use development located near a fixed-guideway transit station with streets and sidewalks that provide convenient and safe access for walking and bicycling to the station.