Austin’s South Central Waterfront (SCW) is bound for change. In fact, change is rapidly underway. The South Central Waterfront Vision Framework Plan is a roadmap for how the coming change can be guided to create the best possible outcome for all Austinites. The SCW strives to be a model for how a district-wide green infrastructure system paired with quality urban design and an interconnected network of public spaces, streets, lakeside trails and parks can provide a framework for redevelopment. A district approach can also coordinate public and private investments to leverage maximum impact and provide for district-wide value capture to fund affordable housing and other community benefits. A transformed South Central Waterfront District can not only become a great new neighborhood in the central city and a destination in itself, but will serve as an iconic gateway from South Austin into Downtown and the Texas Capitol, and an inspiration for the region.
The South Central Waterfront Initiative builds upon more than three decades of waterfront planning begun by the Town Lake Corridor Study. Since the Initiative was officially launched by City Council in 2013, the effort has engaged hundreds of Austinites and has combined community aspirations with the effort of numerous city departments, stakeholders and citizens. This document establishes a consolidated vision and provides a cohesive set of recommendations to guide public and private investment in the South Central Waterfront over the next two decades. The vision presented in this report is grounded in economic, environmental, and spatial analyses and provides a starting point for mutually beneficial collaboration between the City of Austin and its constituents: residents, property-owners, and developers. More importantly, this document will serve as the beginning of a larger city-led effort to ensure that, as this area evolves, every increment of investment by the city and its partners will contribute to making this a great new district by:
- Establishing a lively, attractive pedestrian environment;
- Expanding open space and creating great public places;
- Enhancing connections to and along the waterfront; and
- Providing 20% new affordable housing units.
The South Central Waterfront Vision Framework Plan, was awarded the 2017 Sustainable Urban Design Plan award from the Sustainable Communities Division of the American Planning Association, the 2017 Honor Award from the Texas Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and a Project Planning Award from the Central Texas Section of the APA in 2016.