The capital of Texas has changed profoundly in the last decade? From oil to dot-coms, the city of Austin has undergone a steady transformation, and was recently ranked America’s fastest-growing city for the 4th year in a row. By growing and investing in the creative economy the town has developed a remarkable cultural identity focused on music, film, digital media and new creative art forms.e

image courtesy of flickr user Anne Worner

The importance of the social technology in Austin is already familiar to most visitors, through the annual SXSW festival, but the special quality with Austin’s creative classes have always been the urban fuel and the continuous developments feeding the needs of innovative newcomers. The educational and economic programs that the city provides has been developed especially for the creative growth, accommodating affordable transport, workspaces, housing and healthcare.

Austin is one of America’s fastest growing cities with a population growth rate of 2.5 percent and job opportunities staggering at 3 times the national average. To provide and sustain its growth, the city of Austin is undergoing an ambitious development to revise its urban planning scheme, with changes addressing critical issues such as diminishing natural resources, house affordability and a more easy access to a healthy lifestyle.

  • 1839

    Waterloo Village becomes the capital of the Republic of Texas under the leadership of its’ President, Mirbeau B. Lamar.
  • 1839

    Waterloo Village was renamed Austin after Stephen F. Austin. The City of Austin start with 640 acres of land.
  • 1840

    Judge Edwin Waller plans new town grid plan; a singles square mile plot with 14 blocks running east to west / north to south.
  • 1841

    The first structure is built in Austin, The French Legation.
  • 1846

    Texas is annexation from Republic of Texas and becomes a part of the United States and officially named the capital of Texas in 1846.
  • 1853

    Austin constructs its first two permanent buildings: the new capital on Congress Ave and the Governor’s Mansion
  • 1875

    Cap Metro was born and is the longest running public transportation system in Texas history.
  • 1883

    The University of Texas at Austin is complete; approximately one mile from the state capital.
  • 1898

    Page Brothers Architects now known as PSP - PageSoutherland- Page is created.
  • 1905

    Congress Ave is paved laying way for more permanent buildings to be constructed from the capital to the Colorado River.
  • 1910

    Littlefield Building and Scarborough Buidling.
  • 1928

    City of Austin issued its’ first city plan since 1839. The plan was designed to develop the City’s strengths as a residential, cultural, and education center.
  • 1935

    Austin is hit with its worst natural disaster, the Flood of 1935. Downtown Austin was redeveloped after the flood.
  • 1936 + 1938

    The Colorado River floods again, causing downtown Austin to reevaluate its infrastructure.
  • 1960s

    I-35 is constructed, changing connectivity to downtown Austin.
  • 1960s and Forward

    Technology giants like IBM, Texas Instruments, Motorola, Dell, and many others began to locate their headquarters/offices in Austin.
  • Austin City Plan

    Parallel Initiative

    One of the priorities to make the city vibrant, livable and connected is the special focus on the city’s downtown area, digging deeper into initiatives for business attraction, retention, and expansion. Through a compacted Austin, the city planners envision a less car-dependent and more walking, bicycling and transit friendly city. Learn more <a href="">here</a>.
image courtesy of flickr user Stuart Seeger

Go Downtown

In the aftermaths of the post war oil boom, Austin’s downtown area became a legacy in its own right. Motorola, IBM and Texas Instruments all settled, setting off a wave of new high-rise buildings, accommodating for the 400 high technology manufacturers that came to follow with about one fourth of them relocating from California. That figure has now reached 4000 tech companies, representing 37 percent of the city’s payrolls.  After many years, the downtown area is finally seeing the envisioned master plan, moving towards a more walkable community. With the ambition to create a civic heart of the region, the new downtown plan includes interpretations of a downtown village for people to live, work and play. With a specific emphasis on mix-used transport, Austin will in the next coming years, be at the forefront of the pedestrian America, increasing an overall sustainability in a dynamic and social way.

image courtesy of flickr user Earl McGehee

As the wave from memories of building skyscrapers in the nineties flows in, the city of Austin soaks up the new developments of downtown like a sponge. As the key aspect of improvements lies in human capital, the key to success lies in the physical form of a cultural and public landscape.  With enhanced physical access the planners of Austin wish to push sustainability as well as healthy lifestyles by leveraging on the economic drivers that already exist within tech, art and education. To ensure the social authorship of downtown, Austin is opening its arms, manifesting a welcoming to all members of the community by requesting diversity, character and personality.

Austin Credits

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