Welcome to EcoPlanIT Madison!

This web site was developed by masters students in UW-Madison's Department of Urban and Regional Planning. It is the product of a semester-long project to formulate recommendations for ecological sustainability through land use planning in Madison, Wisconsin.

The world is increasingly urban. In the United States, 80 percent of the population lives in metropolitan areas, and the global urban population is expected to double by 2038. This trend is a mixed blessing for the environment. Cities devour energy, resources, and land once occupied by forests, grassland, or farmland, and they contribute to air and water pollution. On the other hand, they can provide exciting, vibrant communities with the potential to reduce human environmental impacts on a per capita basis. Ecological sustainability, therefore, is not a lost cause for cities. It is a goal that can be achieved through creative and careful planning that recognizes the need to improve the urban environment as well as the role a city plays in its larger, regional setting.

For this project, we began with the four goals described below as our framework for sustainability. First we developed an inventory of Madison's ecological attributes, gathering information on everything from streets and streams to parks and power plants. We then consulted the literature to see what the experts are saying and what other cities are trying. From this research we formulated a set of performance standards representing urban best practices. For those instances where no quantitative measure exists, we did our best to create one, accepting that uncertainty is inevitable and sustainability is a product in the testing phase.

Finally, we took a close look at Madison's current land use. For our analysis we divided Madison into six districts: West - Near West - South - Isthmus - North - East. In each of these areas we looked at a set of land use attributes such as open space, street trees, and community gardens. Our objective was to find out how Madison fares relative to our sustainability standards and to identify opportunities for Madison to perform better. This web site presents the results of our analysis and our recommendations for improvement.

We hope you enjoy your tour of our site. Whether you're a Madison resident interested in how your neighborhood can contribute to our ecological goals or a visitor looking for ideas to apply elsewhere, here's to a sustainable future!


How to Use this Website

Each of the six districts has been examined for several attributes, each of which contributes to the four goals above that have been defined for Madison. The pages are interconnected to allow easy navigation between attributes and regions. The links enable you to trace the pattern of a particular ecological attribute across the city, or to learn about a particular district in detail.

West Near West South Isthmus North East