An Assessment of Smart Growth Policies in Austin, Texas
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Smart Growth is a form of development that incorporates mixed-use development, high-density planning, and transportation in one area in order to create a pedestrian oriented and environmentally friendly cityscape. Smart Growth is largely an answer to the problems created by sprawl, such as environmental degradation and unpopulated town centers. Affordability and housing choice are key components of a smart growth program; the needs of low-income and middle-class residents also are addressed. The reviewed literature suggests that smart growth is the best way to address such problems of urban sprawl, population growth, and affordable housing. This research will focus on Austin, Texas, its particular development issues and solutions, and offer suggested policies for implementation to increase smart growth compliance. City documents and archives as well as direct observation of emerging developments are examined to describe Austin's current development procedures. A model Smart Growth program developed from the literature will be the basis for examination. The observed developments and documents suggest that the City of Austin is generally supportive of smart growth development. However, there are a few benchmarks to be reached in order to serve its existing residents as well as plan for the expected population growth. The recommended policies will help Austin become a model smart growth city.