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Neighborhood Planning, Preservation and Design

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The mission of Urban Design and Special Planning is to maintain and strengthen existing residential and commercial neighborhoods focusing on the downtown, Isthmus and central city as well as to protect and enhance the City's natural, cultural, aesthetic and historic resources. This service provides neighborhood planning services and technical services to neighborhoods, administers the Municipal Arts program, develops and maintains urban design guidelines, prepares development concept plans, and monitors and recommends changes to the City's land development regulations. The service provides staff for the Urban Design Commission, Landmarks Commission, Madison Arts Commission and Council appointed ad hoc committees.

This service staffs the City's Urban Design Commission and reviews planned developments, developments in urban design districts, sign variances and public buildings. It also manages and coordinates special projects such as the Downtown Wayfinding Program and the improvements to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, prepares physical development plans and recommendations for redevelopment projects, and offers design assistance to promote revitalization for areas of the City including site design, landscaping and architectural services. This service also provides ongoing design assistance to the Mall Maintenance and Display Program.


The Neighborhood Planning Service provides technical assistance to neighborhood associations, especially in the areas of: formation of neighborhood associations; preparation of mid-range neighborhood plans in CDBG eligible neighborhoods; and provision of statistical information that assesses the condition of neighborhood areas. 

The Preservation Planner maintains the City's preservation plans, makes recommendations to the Commission on the protection of buildings, sites, and districts of special historic and architectural significance; conducts historical surveys and catalogues this information so that it will be useful to private citizens, researchers, and officials; and informs Madison citizens about its historic past and funding sources for preservation.


Madison Arts Commission exists to make the arts an essential part of the lives of all of Madison's citizens; it fosters an appreciation for the arts through initiating partnerships, develops new audiences, and sponsors diverse artistic activities by emerging and established artists and arts organizations while preserving Madison's rich artistic tradition. To learn more about Grants and Projects with Madison Arts Commission, go to: