UniverCity Monona

The City of Monona is a small community of almost 8,000 residents located on the east shore of Lake Monona and 7 miles from the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. It was incorporated as a village in 1938 and during the 1950s experienced substantial population growth. After annexing several properties for residential, commercial and industrial growth, Monona eventually became landlocked. It is now the oldest community in Dane County and is seeking solutions to its aging housing stock, how to grow without the ability to expand, and how to preserve its small-town community feel and natural resources during redevelopment.

Because of its close proximity to the university, and the strong support of Mayor Bob Miller, Monona was chosen for the inaugural year of the UniverCity Year program at UW-Madison during the 2016-17 academic year. The partnership garnered much media coverage.

Project news

Learn more about the UniverCity Year Monona projects, and hear feedback from Monona staff and community, in this video by the City of Monona.

Learn more about UniverCity Year Monona in this UW-Madison video featuring Monona Mayor Bob Miller and UW-Madison students and staff.

Learn More

Executive summaries of UniverCity Year Monona are now available in our year-end report.

How can we ensure Monona parks will be enjoyed by all for generations to come?

Students researched and recommended improvements to the master plans for Ahuska and Winnequah parks. They focused on increasing the usability of the parks, including improvements to lighting, pedestrian paths, sports fields, and restroom facilities. UW-Madison courses also investigated sustainable environmental management improvements like irrigation, drainage, landscaping, shoreline restoration and turf management.

Courses and final reports

How can we make transportation safer and more accessible?

Students planned improvements to Monona’s transportation infrastructure, ensuring that biking and walking routes to transit and key destinations are safe and accessible to all. They also examined the social behaviors around active transportation, designed a campaign to encourage biking and walking to schools, and assessed the health benefits of increasing active transportation options.

Courses and final reports

How can Monona connect citizens and communicate effectively in a new era of technological innovation?

Students helped revamp the city’s digital resources for residents. Targets included researching the costs and benefits of a citywide Wi-Fi infrastructure, improving the usability of the city website, expanding the city’s presence on social media and providing programming for the community radio station.

Courses and final reports

How do we balance the need for stability while addressing community change and redevelopment opportunities?

Students examined the current housing climate in Monona to inform redevelopment goals and select sites for redevelopment. Focus areas included affordable housing, preservation of single-family neighborhoods, and development of mixed-use and commercial real estate to draw new families and businesses to the City of Monona.

Courses and final reports