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“Reimagining Austin: 5 Ways to Reclaim Our City”

2009 September 1

space12 I asked a friend from Madrid, Spain, what his favorite thing about Austin was, and he sarcastically replied, “I don’t need a car to get around.”  Every time I have coffee with a non-permanent Austinite, they feel compelled to to complain about our city.  As annoying as it may be, it forces me to think about things I would change.

Right now, we have a great opportunity to shape the future of the city: For the next two years, the city will be drafting the Comprehensive Plan. This plan will guide the city for the next 30 years! And they are involving citizens throughout the process.

But you don’t necessarily have to wait two years to see change, nor do you have to wait for the city to implement it.  After visiting Space 12 for a short film series by the Center for Urban Pedagogy, hosted by Public Workshop and KIPP, we were inspired to get involved in transforming our belvoed city. Check out our list of ways you can reimage Austin.

How to Reclaim Austin:

  • Imagine your perfect Austin.
    • We need to imagine what Austin could be in the future, and then figure how to get there. How would your perfect Austin look? Would it have playgrounds for adults? Would it have work spaces in the park? Would it have awesome games on its public transportation systems?
  • Talk to your friends about the Comprehensive Plan.
    • Next time you’re at the Springs, Jo’s, or the dog park, ask people what they think about it. If they don’t know what the CP is, TELL THEM, then start brainstorming! This is OUR city, and the plan should incorporate OUR current needs, as well as OUR visions for the future.
  • Don’t wait. Fix it!
    • Have you ever waited for the bus at a stop and nearly cooked because the stop didn’t have a shade? Fix it: Start an orange umbrella project. Get your friends together and hang up umbrellas by bus stops that have no shade.
    • Do you see a decrepit, run down space on your way to work everyday? Transform it: Organize a guerrilla gardening possie and plant veggies, or host a dance party there! Be sure to invite us, because we love to get down and boogie.
  • Create your own community.
    • The city is its best when each citizen feels like a member of a community. What can you do to build community? One of the groups down at Space 12 suggested that everyone should host a neighborhood birthday party in their own hood.
  • Reclaim public space and make it your own!

How would YOU change Austin? Do you have any creative ideas to transform Austin?  Let us know in the comments!

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. Sam permalink
    September 1, 2009

    Funny you say that your visiting friends always complain about the city. Mine always have nice things to say. I guess it all depends on where you are visiting from.

    • September 2, 2009

      Hey Sam:

      I agree. Most of my out-of-town friends have nothing but positive things to say about Austin. There are a few that do complain a little bit about the transportation and commuting issues. Those folks r usually from SF or NYC-you know, subway cities!

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