Why these neighborhoods?

John Johnson

2018/05/01

Milwaukee neighborhoods map

Milwaukee’s neighborhoods are, in the words of John Gurda, “quicksilver creations, constantly changing residents, borders, and even names.”1

Despite (or perhaps because) of their squishy nature, neighborhoods are important. Talk to a resident of a neighborhood with a strong identity, and you’ll find this out. The implications of neighborhoods on the lives of their residents have also been fruitfully explored in many recent works of social science, including some focused on specifically on Milwaukee.2

The boundaries used in this website were developed by the Milwaukee Department of City Development (DCD) in 2000. By way of explanation, the authors of the Neighborhood Identification Project wrote, “Milwaukee has had neighborhoods in one form or another going all the way back to the dispute between Byron Kilbourn and Solomon Jeneau. Some neighborhoods have been drawn on maps and others have not…”3

The DCD used used the following factors to determine their neighborhood boundaries:

In all likelihood, some of these neighborhood boundaries are the same as the mental maps carried by residents of Milwaukee, while in other cases, the names, boundaries, or both may be unrecognizable. If you would like to replicate the kinds of neighborhood reports available on this website for a custom geography, please get in touch at john.d.johnson@marquette.edu


  1. John Gurda, Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods (Milwaukee: Historic Milwaukee Incorporated, 2015), xi.

  2. For example: Evelyn M. Perry, Live and Let Live: Diversity, Conflict, and Community in an Integrated Neighborhood (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2017). Robert J. Sampson, Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012). Patrick Sharkey, Stuck in Place: Urban Neighborhoods and the End of Progress Toward Racial Equality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013). Aleksandra Snowden, “Neighborhood characteristics contribute to urban alcohol availability: accounting for race/ethnicity and social disorganization” (Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse 15(4), 2016).

  3. Milwaukee Neighborhood Identification Project, 2000 May.

  4. ibid