Madison, Waukesha, Milwaukee–Partners?
Transportation corridors are obviously prime for for growth and development, but it’s funny how seldom this plain as the-nose-on-your-face reality is ignored by decisionmakers. I wrote about the synergy of Chicago and Milwaukee along I-94 for Milwaukee Magazine. (Read it here.) Now for Isthmus I look at the Madison-to-Milwaukee corridor. The column begins:
Who knows, but just maybe Madison’s future can be found on the first floor of the historic American Exchange Bank on the Capitol Square. Nine info-tech start-ups — focused on everything from gaming to fashion to medical care — are housed in a business incubator run by an investment group known as 94Labs.
The name is telling, as it highlights the I-94 corridor connecting the Madison area with Milwaukee and Waukesha County — the state’s biggest metro area. Eighty miles from the Square, 94Labs runs another incubator in Milwaukee that’s equidistant to Marquette University, the Milwaukee School of Engineering and UW-Milwaukee.
The I-94 corridor “is a mega-region,” says 94Labs’ Greg Meier, using the phrase of celebrated urban theorist Richard Florida to describe the growing linkages of metro areas.
“The mega-regions of today perform functions that are somewhat similar to those of the great cities of the past — massing together talent, productive capability, innovation and markets,” Florida told a Tampa Bay paper earlier this year.