City and Regional Planning

Keep Austin Resilient: Systems Planning and Placemaking in the Age of Extreme Weather

Fall 2019 Studio

Residents of Austin, Texas, located in “flash flood alley,” are accustomed to dry landscapes and intermittent rising waters. Similar to other cities along inland waterways, Austin has long battled periodic inundation. However, pressures from climate change and rapid population growth, coupled with historic inequality, present a newfound urgency to find solutions. Austin needs to create a culture of resiliency and equity that can support residents through the new extreme weather reality.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Stuart Weitzman School of Design took on these questions as part of a Fall 2019 Master of City Planning studio course. Our studio sought to explore the watersheds and creeks in Austin as the backbone of the community and unearth how these natural features can tie the Austin community and its future development together. Utilizing a systems planning approach, we investigated the interconnectedness of several of Austin’s systems and discovered cross-system pressures.

Keep Austin Resilient: Systems Planning and Placemaking in the Age of Extreme Weather examines the watersheds of Austin and the creeks that pass through and give character to each of Austin’s diverse neighborhoods and districts. The studio’s city-wide policy proposals and neighborhood-level recommendations seek to build on Austin’s watersheds and creeks to address broader themes of resiliency, equity, and community.

Team

Nando Micale, Lecturer