A Watershed Moment for the South Central Waterfront

Apr 17, 2014 - 1:12 pm

Creating a vision today will help ensure that private and public redevelopment over the next twenty (or more!) years will transform the South Central Waterfront to increase walkable connections along the shore of Lady Bird Lake.


Since January, over 400 citizens participated in two Waterfront Walkabouts and three Waterfront Talkabouts to learn and discover for themselves the possibilities for the rapidly changing South Central Waterfront.  These walks + talks all lead to the next critical step:  The Vision + Design Intensive where the community, property owners, officials, and professionals will come together over five days to create an illustrated Vision for the future of the 97-acre area of the South Central Waterfront.

The illustrated Vision will imagine how public and private redevelopment can transform the South Central Waterfront over the next twenty years to increase pedestrian connections along the lake and to the shore, expand & create great public and open spaces, integrate landscaping for beauty and environmental benefit, and include affordable housing.

The five-day Vision + Design Intensive will begin on Thursday, April 24 (7:00-9:00 PM) with a public Presentation and Vision Workshop. The public will have a chance to consult on the sixteen emerging Guiding Principles which will guide the four days of work by a team of architects, designers, economists, planners and engineers to illustrate the possibilities for this area. To weigh in now on the emerging principles, go to SpeakUp Austin.

On Saturday, April 26 (2:00 – 5:00 PM – drop in schedule) the public is invited to an Open Studio + Pin-Up Review to see and consult on in-process design sketches, drawings, and computer models that envision possibilities and alternatives.  Children can also participate in the design process through Box City, an activity sponsored by the Austin chapter of the American Institute of Architecture, where they’ll build their own unique 3-D vision for the waterfront using cereal boxes. 

After consulting with the public at Saturday’s Open Studio & Pin-Up Review the team of professionals will head back to the drawing board to incorporate the feedback in their final two-day push to get ready for Monday night. This team includes a distinguished financial development specialist, award-winning architects, and civil engineers from around the country and locally, architecture students from the University of Kansas, and local architects, planners, landscape architects and engineers offering pro bono services.

On Monday, April 28 (7:00-9:00 PM) the public is invited to the Review forum, which will include the draft of the illustrated vision and another opportunity to provide feedback.  After the conclusion of the Vision + Design Intensive, the draft of the illustrated vision will be reviewed at a public meeting of the Waterfront Planning Advisory Board on May 12, and presented to the Austin City Council later in the spring.

The Vision + Design Intensive is made possible with tremendous community support. Most significantly, all meeting venue needs are being provided in-kind by the Texas School for the Deaf, and the Austin Board of Realtors is providing financial support through a grant it received from the National Board of Realtors Smart Growth program.

Download the Vision + Design Intensive flyer here, and RSVP for the event on Facebook.  For more information about the plan, visit www.austintexas.gov/waterfront.

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