District Thinking: Austin's South Waterfront

APA Texas Chapter


Friday, November 4, 2016
1:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. CDT

CM | 1.50

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Austin’s South Central Waterfront, 118 acres of land along an iconic stretch of Lady Bird Lake, is poised for rapid change and over $2 billion of reinvestment. The SCW Framework Plan is the culmination of over three decades of waterfront planning and was formally adopted by Austin’s City Council in June 2016. This groundbreaking plan is a model for how a city and its constituents can work together to create a cohesive and visionary plan for the redevelopment of a large urban area with little publicly-owned land and dozens of individual landowners. The multi-faceted process that balanced stakeholder interests with community benefits is unique among Austin’s planning initiatives. The plan incorporates a combination of physical design, financial analysis, and city leadership to create 20 acres of new parkland, 8 million SF of mixed use development, over 500 new affordable housing units, and a network of complete streets and green infrastructure. This presentation and panel will cover the contents of the plan, as well as the complex process of taking the plan from a preliminary vision and design to a finished document adopted into Austin’s Comprehensive plan. A panel drawn from the City of Austin, design consultants, and community stakeholders will address the following questions:  What strategies did the planning team use to build consensus among 30 property owners, city departments, and community stakeholders in order to arrive at a cohesive vision that creates the best possible outcome for all?How did thinking at a district level create an inspiring public realm that facilitates sustainable energy, green infrastructure, and active transportation?How did the planning team use economic and spatial analyses to orchestrate a cohesive redevelopment framework for a fragmented district and support new public private partnerships? Why strong city leadership is essential, and what strategies might the City of Austin use to realize the plan over the next two years.


Jim Adams

Invited Speaker

Jim Adams is President of McCann Adams Studio and an architect, urban designer and planner whose work has involved a broad spectrum of project types from large-scale master plans to site-specific development projects. As a principal of ROMA Design Group and then its affiliate ROMA Austin for more than twenty-five ... Read More

Alan Holt

Invited Speaker

Spanning his career as an architect in municipal government, in education, and in private practice, Alan Holt has promoted well planned, vibrant, healthy communities through urban design. After obtaining his Master of Architecture from Columbia University, Alan spent his early career working for architectural offices in NYC. From there he ... Read More

Contact Info

Michael McAnelly, administrator@apatexas.org