2015 Texas APA Current Planning Award
Population: over 945,000
Opticos lead a complete rewrite of Austin’s 30-year-old Land Development Code to implement the goal of creating a compact and connected Austin as established by Imagine Austin, the city’s recently adopted Comprehensive Plan.
CodeNEXT began with an extensive outreach process to ensure active community involvement in the code rewrite. Opticos and team of over a dozen sub-consultants worked closely with City staff to facilitate citywide “Listening Sessions” to solicit community feedback and preferences, as well as an innovative “Community Character in a Box” process that allowed local stakeholders to play an active role in identifying community assets and liabilities. These efforts resulted in a Community Character Manual, which thoroughly documented the character of the city’s 103 neighborhoods as seen by residents and neighborhoods themselves.
Building on the information gathered through these stages, the Opticos team, including Lisa Wise Consulting and Peter Park, worked closely with City staff to rewrite the existing Land Development Code to support and facilitate the vision of Austin’s community members, and launched the release of the public draft with extensive communication and outreach. To help ensure the code meets the community’s needs, Opticos led a code-testing charrette to consider options for various areas in Austin and work with the community to determine their preferences, and the team is now working with City staff to make needed revisions and shepherd the code through the public review process.
Project Team: Opticos (lead); Lisa Wise Consulting, Inc.; Peter Park; Civic Collaboration; Cultural Strategies, Inc.; ECONorthwest; Fregonese Associates, Inc.; Group Solutions RJW; J. Amy Belaire; Kimley-Horn; McCann Adams Studio; Regenerative Environmental Design, LLC; Taniguchi Architects; Urban Design Group