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Milwaukee - The Cities Programme


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Milwaukee, located on the south-western shore of Lake Michigan, is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin in the USA.. It has a population of around 600,000 residing within an area of 251.7 km2.

The city has a rich history of vibrant local industries based on fur trapping, manufacturing and food and beverage production. The city also has immutable ties with water. The name ‘Milwaukee’ is Native American in origin and means ‘gather place near the waters’.

With the decline of its brewing and manufacturing industries, Milwaukee faced many challenges. Searching for economic revitalisation, research was conducted and indicated that Milwaukee has more than 120 businesses with expertise and services in water. In light of this, the Spirit of Milwaukee devised an economic development strategy based on services and technologies related to water coupled with scientific expertise in the region’s universities. They extended into cooperation with the city’s water and sewerage management agencies to support best practice in water management in the region. The Water Council was established, positioning the city as a global hub for water research and technology.

Mayor Tom Barrett committed the City of Milwaukee to the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact in 2009. Milwaukee entered the Global Compact Cities Programme at the Innovating level committing to a implementation of a range of projects that tackle complex water-related urban challenges using the cross-sectoral management model. The city is also a Leading City of the Global Compact Cities Programme, with its comprehensive approach to city and sustainability planning and regular contribution to best practice and knowledge sharing across the Global Compact Cities Programme network.

The city’s relationship with the Global Compact Cities Programme is facilitated by In Country Convenor, Dean Amhaus who holds the position of CEO and President of The Water Council.

For more information on Milwaukee and its work with water & sustainability see:

The Water Council  – Water Council 2013 Report

Great Lakes & ST. Lawrence Cities Initiative: 2014 Sustainable Municipal Water Management Public Evaluation report

Milwaukee’s Sustainability Plan – ReFresh Milwaukee

Water Tech District Spurs $211.6 Million in Development

Innovating Project Innovating City


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