Judith Kenny
Department of Geography
End-of-Year Fellowship Report for 2003-04

My fellowship year allowed me to develop a major new research project dealing with Milwaukee’s public housing.  In addition to advancing my initial research on changing policy perspectives related to the physical form of public housing, I laid the groundwork for an oral history project that will be conducted this summer at the city’s oldest African-American public housing project.  These two efforts represent two different aspects of the study – the first being an analysis of dominant society’s perspectives on housing the poor and the second being the residents’ experience of that social and physical environment.

As a consequence of the year’s efforts, I envision a future monograph that would join these research concerns with my previous efforts to address the relationship among poverty, ethnicity/race and housing in the twentieth century. This goal, although not a part of the original fellowship proposal, came about as a result of the stimulation of my fellowship year. A combination of the additional time for intellectual inspiration and the positive atmosphere of other fellows’ efforts served as the spark for this plan, which will provide direction for some time to come.

In terms of work products related to the fellowship year, there are several items/events to report. I presented a paper at a planning history conference in the fall that allowed me to explore the historical context of Milwaukee’s early twentieth century planning initiatives – specifically the influence of British and German socialist perspectives on community ideals and built form. As an invited speaker at Madison’s Department of Geography, I evaluated the planning discourse influencing public housing design at Milwaukee’s Parklawn public housing development at its construction and its recent renovation. This presentation reflected the contributions that I received from my fellows during a fall seminar. The revised paper will be submitted for review to an interdisciplinary journal in the near future. As mentioned above, progress on the oral history component of my fellowship required efforts throughout the academic year including: meetings with Housing Authority personnel to develop the oral history project; identification of a culturally sensitive research assistant to conduct the interviews; and, completion of the University’s IRB process as well. The oral history project will contribute not only to academic articles and a future monograph but will also result in a public history of the Hillside Terrace development for the community.

conference presentation

w/ Thomas C. Hubka (Department of Architecture), "Situating the 'American' Garden Suburb: Hegemann's and Peets' Washington Highlands, 1916," presented at Society for American City and Regional Planning History conference in St. Louis, Missouri, November 8, 2003.

invited lecturer
“’Public Neighbors’ and Public Neighborhoods: Planning Discourse and the (Re)Making of Milwaukee’s Parklawn, 1930s & 1990s,”  Annual Trewartha Lecture in the Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin – Madison, April 30, 2004.

journal article submission
“’Public Neighbors’ and Public Neighborhoods: Planning Discourse and the (Re)Making of Milwaukee’s Parklawn, 1930s & 1990s,”  Environment & Planning D: Society & Space,  May 2004.

Current department website




Center for 21st Century Studies

Merry Wiesner-Hanks

Center for 21st Century Studies
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201 USA
tel: 414-229-4141; fax: 414-229-5964; email:



  Last updated 9/2/08 by RVD