Evolve Austin: A New Coalition Supporting Imagine Austin

Screen shot 2015-12-07 at 12.44.24 PMEvolve Austin is a new organization made up of established civic organizations and dedicated to supporting the Imagine Austin comprehensive plan.

We chatted with Evolve’s President, Cid Galindo, recently about Evolve Austin and its work. The organization, with the support of partners that include Bike Austin, Alliance for Public Transportation, Friends of Austin Neighborhoods, and many more, champions the comprehensive plan through work with City councilmembers and staff, education, and communications.

“We’re about building a coalition to support Imagine Austin,” Galindo says.

Part of that effort is working toward more diverse and affordable housing choices in Central Austin. Affordability plays a big role in transportation access and choices that Austinites are able to make.

“The tag line of Imagine Austin is ‘vibrant, livable, connected’,” Galindo says. “The connected part is about transit that works. You have to have employment centers, activity centers, corridors, and residential and commercial density that can support viable transit.”

And in order for more people to be able to access those dense nodes, affordability has to be addressed. Galindo says that the group is heavily involved in examining Code NEXT to make sure elements of that new land development code allow for the market to provide diverse and abundant housing throughout the city. CodeNEXT is in the writing phase now, and City officials have said a public draft will likely be ready by this fall.

Evolve Austin and its partners also support initiatives like Austin’s recent changes to requirements for accessory dwelling units, within the context of supporting Imagine Austin’s goals.

“Household affordability isn’t just about price per square foot,” Galindo says. “There are other components, including transportation…we want the market to be able to provide an abundance of diverse housing.”

While plenty of people are moving into dense Austin neighborhoods – which for some households can mean saving money on transportation costs – for many more people, even with those transportations savings, Central Austin housing is out of reach.

More affordable housing in dense neighborhoods near transportation options means more people will have access to many more choices, and won’t have to be car dependent – and that will free up space on our roads and help all of us. And that’s why we’re excited to see Evolve Austin’s voice as Imagine Austin and CodeNEXT move forward.

If you want to get involved, find out more here.

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