The effort to transform Milwaukee into a global hub for water technology is still in its early stages, and shows promise, but however impressive this venture, it’s arguably an outgrowth of a much longer term – and in many ways more extraordinary – series of initiatives focused on Milwaukee’s freshwater landscape going back many years. This longer term effort, focused on degraded water resources and blighted industrial lands bordering Milwaukee’s urban rivers, has revitalized Milwaukee’s freshwater landscape in ways that I believe may be unmatched by any other U.S. city. In addition, the unique geography of the city, and decisions going back a century or more to keep the lakefront relatively undeveloped, have assured that Milwaukee’s rivers and lake shore are uniquely accessible to people.

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