The Imagine Austin Vision Statement embodies our commitment to preserving the best of Austin and changing those things that need to be changed. The Vision Statement answers the question, “What sort of city do we want Austin to be?” with a series of principles that adres the physical and social evolution of the city and the overall wellbeing of its residents. Its preamble reads:
A Vision for Austin’s Future
As it approaches its 200th anniversary, Austin is a beacon of sustainability, social equity and economic opportunity; where diversity and creativity are celebrated; where community needs and values are recognized; where leadership comes from its citizens and where the necessities of life are affordable and accessible to all.
Austin’s greatest asset is its people: passionate about our city, committed to its improvement, and determined to see this vision become a reality.
Core Principles for Action
Sustainability is the basis of the Imagine Austin vision statement and its hundreds of policies and actions developed through the input of thousands of community members. These policies and actions express five core principles for action to make our imagined Austin a reality.
Grow as a compact, connected city.
Austin’s long-term sustainability requires a fresh focus on redevelopment and infill within the city’s developed areas. Favoring compact growth now provides a balance to earlier decades of sprawling, low-density development. More compact growth contains costs and limits the need for tax increases by capitalizing on the land and infrastructure already in place. It also enhances human connections, innovation, and urban vibrancy. Creating a more compact and efficient city is critical to our ability to connect people to homes, jobs, schools, and other destinations with a more complete transportation system that is affordable to build, operate, and maintain.
Integrate nature into the city.
A beautiful, world-class system of outdoor places for recreation and environmental protection will define Austin as a world-class city. We need to develop our natural assets into a network of connected greenways and waterways. By strengthening our “green infrastructure” – parks, the urban forest, trails and greenbelts, rivers, creeks, lakes, gardens, urban agriculture, open spaces, and wildlife habitat – Austin can protect the natural environment and enhance recreational opportunities.
Provide paths to prosperity for all.
Austin can harness its strong economy to expand opportunity and social equity for all residents. Developing economic sectors through partnerships between the business community, city government, and institutions will help employ a diverse workforce and expand opportunities for young and old. To ensure our economic strength, it is critical to preserve Austin’s mix of large and small businesses, local entrepreneurs, major employers, clean industries, education and government jobs. We can maintain economic resiliency by staying attuned to global trends and emerging technologies. Prosperity for all means reducing the number of individuals and families living in poverty by providing workforce training and helping residents attain living-wage jobs, as well as capitalizing on the city’s “creative class” vibe to provide jobs and career paths for workers of all educational and skill levels.
Develop as an affordable and healthy community.
As development and change occurs, we must strive to contain Austin’s cost of living, while increasing wages and good jobs. An affordable community can only exist if we make sure that the people who work in Austin can afford to live here. Through incentives and partnerships, the City of Austin can encourage that more affordable housing be distributed throughout the city. New mixed-use areas need to have attainably priced housing, provide shopping and services, be walkable and bikable, and linked by transit to jobs and other centers, so residents can choose whether or not to incur the costs of owning a car. Healthy communities depend on easy, safe access to walking, biking, and recreation, healthy and nutritious food, quality healthcare, schools, police, and other community services. We can strive to deliver high public value for city taxes and maintain low-cost amenities that all Austinites can enjoy.
Sustainably manage water and other environmental resources.
Sustainability is about considering the needs of present and future generations. As a city, we need to respect our natural constraints, mitigate and adapt to climate change, and conserve water, energy, land, and other natural resources. The city will enact public policies and make choices on the basis of long-term costs and consequences. Austin can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by promoting community health, encouraging walking, biking, and other daily exercise, and making fresh, local food accessible. We have a responsibility to future generations to go even greener, encourage energy independence, reduce individual and household water use, and protect clean air and water. By respecting our natural resources, we can build a sustainable foundation for Austin’s enduring prosperity.
Think creatively & practice civic creativity.
What’s in the Plan: Imagine Austin at a Glance
Chapter One (The Roadmap and the Road Ahead)
describes the need for a comprehensive plan providing a roadmap for Austin to navigate the challenges of the 21st century; core principles for action to achieve a sustainable future; and how we will use those principles to turn the plan into reality. It is useful for those who may not wish to read the plan “cover to cover.”
Chapter Two (Experiencing Austin: Who Are We Today?)
contains information on the current state of Austin and what it means for the city’s future (e.g., how affordable it is to live here, how people are getting around, how our parks and city services are performing, etc). It provides a “snapshot” summary of the more in-depth Community Inventory.
Chapter Three (Imagining Austin: Our Vision of a Complete Community)
presents the Imagine Austin vision statement, developed with the input of thousands of residents. It describes the Austin we aspire to be in 2039, the two hundredth anniversary of the city’s founding: a “Complete Community” that is natural and sustainable, prosperous, livable, mobile and interconnected, educated, creative, and which values and respects all Austinites. The vision statement defines the destination that the plan policies, actions, and programs are designed to reach.
Chapter Four (Shaping Austin: Building the Complete Community)
sets a two-part framework for action to realize our vision of a Complete Community. The Growth Concept Map shows in general terms where new development over the next 30 years should be located to support the vision. The Building Blocks define specific policies to guide decisions on topics ranging from Land Use and Transportation to Economy to Culture. These policies are the foundation of the action ideas and programs contained in Chapter Five.
Chapter Five (Implementation and Measuring Success)
addresses how the Imagine Austin vision and framework will be implemented. It identifies eight priority action programs based on hundreds of ideas for action developed by citizen working groups, provides guidance for decision-making, and defines the ongoing process that will be used to monitor implementation progress.