Austin, TX, Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan
Updated June 2018
By: City of Austin
Table of Contents
The city’s comprehensive plan recognizes children and seniors as populations with unique needs. It explicitly commits the city to being age-friendly in S P31 under Children, Families, and Education in the Society chapter (p. 174).
The city’s comprehensive plan details the current health conditions before offering solutions in their Land Use and Transportation and Society sections. Land Use and Transportation goals that address health include LUT P3, LUT P5, LUT P7, LUT P11, LUT P32, and LUT P33. The Society section’s introduction discusses community health and the built environment and proposes solutions in the Health and Human Service policies, S P25, and S P30.
This comprehensive plan includes a set of creative policies that support creative placemaking. The creativity section discusses the importance of arts and culture in supporting the city’s community character, quality of life, and economy. Creative policy recommendations encourage partnerships between community members and organizations, greater access to arts and culture activities for all community members, and growing community hubs for creativity. Additionally, the plan identifies a variety of initiatives, programs, capital improvements, or regulatory changes that support arts and culture in the action matrix.
This comprehensive plan is based on a new community vision developed over a nine-month period by thousands of residents. The vision is provided in Chapter 3 of the plan and includes seven components: Livable, Natural and Sustainable, Creative, Educated, Mobile and Interconnected, Prosperous, and Values and Respects People. The vision is also summarized on a city website.
This comprehensive plan was used to help refine the Sustaining Places comprehensive plan standards. The plan is structured around a seven-part vision and seven policy area "building blocks": Land Use and Transportation, Housing and Neighborhoods, Economy, Conservation and Environment, City Facilities and Services, Society, and Creativity. The planning process included a strong and inclusive public engagement component. The Implementation section of the plan offers multiple community indicators for each vision area, as well as a detailed action matrix that identifies priority programs to implement each action item, though responsible agencies or entities are not identified.
The city's comprehensive plan includes food-related issues throughout many plan elements and goal areas, including access to healthy food (HN P10) in Neighborhoods policies, supporting the local food economy (E P18) in Economic policies, expanding local food markets (CE P13) in Conservation and Environment policies, improving food scrap recycling and composting rates (CFS P16) in Solid Waste policies, and providing healthy community food choices (S P6) and fresh food access (S P7) in Health and Human Services policies. Actions to improve healthy food access are also key components of the implementation strategy of creating a "Healthy Austin" program. Food is also addressed in plan monitoring indicators as well as priority actions for implementation.
This comprehensive plan acknowledges that the largest rate of growth since 2000 has been in those age groups of 55 and older. Between the 2000 and 2010 census, Austin saw an 84 percent increase in residents aged 55-59; a 97 percent increase in residents aged 60-64; and a 52 percent increase in residents aged 65-69. As such, the plan declares that communities “will provide environments that support … seniors aging gracefully in the neighborhoods where they raised their families” (p. 88). Housing Policy P5 specifically calls for a diversity of land uses that will allow for housing friendly to seniors or persons with disabilities. Additionally, their Children, Family, and Education Policy P13 addresses affordability and accessibility for senior housing.
The city’s comprehensive plan includes policy recommendations addressing residential and nonresidential social service uses. Chapter 4 of the plan includes a policy statement addressing a comprehensive approach to reducing homelessness through supportive housing, mental health services, counseling, and alcohol and drug treatment (S P4). Chapter 5 of the plan includes eight implementation actions for this policy statement (S A24-30).
The city's comprehensive plan's Energy Policies, in the City Facilities and Services section, include a call to increase the share of renewable energy sources including solar used by Austin Energy to power the city, including infrastructure for on-site sources (Goal CFS P24). A priority Action Item in the Housing and Neighborhoods section calls for developing a regulatory framework to incentivize the use of sustainability features in housing, including solar power (HN A15).
2010 Population: 790,390
2010 Population Density: 2,653.24/square mile