Analysis: Jason McDowell for OnMilwaukee on MKE Architecture & parking lots Long story short....the long term effects and experiences of gentrification.
Jason McDowell writes about parking lots in Downtown MKE and how they sort of plague the area with their dry presence and solo purpose in being a transient space between destinations. Although throughout the article he revisits the history of the buildings that once stood in their place, he reminds the reader of how useless those blank spots are and those buildings seem like ghosts. I was surprised that this article was published with OnMilwaukee considering their platform seems geared towards tourists but in the end it makes sense. People who live in MKE or visit for the first time notice the gaping holes in the Downtown landscape. The photos taken from the Wisconsin Historical Society when compared to current photos of those areas provokes a lot of frustration, which McDowell knows will happen and can resonate with. My maternal family has been in Milwaukee since the 1950's and although they've told me how much Milwaukee has changed over time, I had no idea just how much until seeing these hidden gems of Milwaukee architectural history. A history that seems irrelevant with modernization (gentrification) that Milwaukee has sought to keep up with like neighboring Chicago. It was even surprising to know that alternative subcultures had a place in the Downtown area: a porn theatre, a Bohemian artist community...vintage (well-kept vintage) apartments. Considering OnMilwaukee's platform, you'd expect to hear of spaces like this in the Brady St area, RiverWest, or the lower East side. But McDowell can't seem to escape the fact that those spaces just vanished and their successor is a flat surface; just concrete and vibes. But even after all of this investigative work on how ugly these parking garages and lots are he doesn't call for their destruction or for something new and refreshing to replace them. He hopes for those spaces to be reenergized but offers no alternative, sort of hinting at the possibility of someone else forming those ideas.
These Buildings were demolished for soulless surface parking spaces, Jason McDowell