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Greenstreet: Ready for Dual Role with UWM, City of Milwaukee

Bob Greenstreet is wearing several important hats. The dean of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for 13 years, Greenstreet was recently appointed by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to also be the city planner/architect. Greenstreet will resign from the city Plan Commission, which he chairs, and will then work for both the university and the city. He also has served as the interim chancellor of UWM for about a year and will continue to do so until July 15 when new chancellor Carlos Santiago takes over.

Now, developers who want to build in Milwaukee will have to satisfy Greenstreet if they want the mayor to support their projects. Small Business Times managing editor Andrew Weiland met with Greenstreet recently to learn more about his vision for the city. The following are excerpts of that interview.

SBT: Your plate is obviously already full here at the university. Why do you want to be the city planner/architect too?

"A school like ours, to be most affective, has to be integrated with the city. We have done that through a number of initiatives. I've always had this vision of making it much more structurally significant to work in a partnership. I outlined that in a paper to Tom Barrett, and he was very much taken with the idea. There was an article about what does Tom know about development? Tom was very open. He said, 'I don't know about planning and architecture, but I know it's very important.' So he asked me, 'I would like you to advise me on that.' It fitted in with my plans for how the school could serve the city.

SBT: How do you see yourself balancing the two jobs?

"I'm still being paid by the university and the city is going to buy out a chunk of my time. We've tried to tailor the positions, reducing the city position to shed some of the bureaucratic stuff, and I will have some of my duties as dean taken over by some of my colleagues. I'm not worried I'm going to get totally swamped, but you never know. This is an exploratory, think-out-of-the-box exercise. We're going to give it a try for a year. I am providing detailed reports to the campus to demonstrate how my time is being used. If either role suffers, then we'll call it quits. But we think it's a noble experiment that's worth a shot, because if we can make it work, I think both could really benefit."


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