Raymond Isaacs
school of Architecture
End-of-Year Fellowship Report for 2004-05

In retrospect, I would summarize my project as follows: Defining an urban neighborhood-- conceptually, physically, and intellectually --through the interaction of natural and social ecologies. During the last academic year, my research work was divided between field work, involving neighborhood planning and design application, and reading, writing and discussing in the academic setting of the Center.

I worked with the Walnut Way Neighborhood in the inner-city of Milwaukee, which is trying to improve its image and its environment. Conceptually, the Walnut Way Neighborhood defines itself in part as a garden community. A social structure is being built through cooperative participation in the construction and maintenance of individual and community gardens. Physically, the environment is being transformed and improved through the incremental construction of gardens with a vision from a holistic urban landscape in mind. I provide ideas and technical assistance. The residents build their neighborhood and through the process learn about urban ecology, while becoming acquainted with one another. During the last year, five rain gardens were built, an urban tree nursery was installed, and a community orchard was designed. Intellectually, my ideas were challenged through reading and through discussions in the Center. The meanings of "neighborhood" and "community" have been debated. The problem of physical boundaries emerged, and an alternate idea of "overlapping nodes" was put forth. These aspects of the intellectual definition of "a neighborhood" are being developed in papers for presentation and publication.

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 7/23/08 by RVD