Austin has long been known for extended debates about environmental initiatives and development regulations. In the 80’s there were actually new subdivisons where homeowners moved in and discovered that our “anti-growth” city council had not gotten around to providing services like water supply. I remember photos in the local newspaper showing people who had just moved into their brand new homes and had to install rainwater collection systems immediately, just to have water for daily use.
Since then, the situation has not been that extreme to my knowledge. But the tension between development and environmental priorities continues — and that’s healthy as far as I am concerned. Now there is a dispute about cutting trees:
|Austin Business Journal, 11/13/09|
|City may stiffen tree-cutting rules|
|“The Real Estate Council of Austin is concerned that the city’s proposed Heritage Tree Ordinance is becoming an increasingly polarizing issue between developers and environmentalists.” More: http://austin.bizjournals.com/austin/stories/2009/11/16/story6.html?b=1258347600^2432871|
We have been through decades of debate and litigation about watershed protection, impervious cover restrictions, other development density issues, mass transit vs. road construction, etc. “Keep Austin Weird” began as a campaign advocating local merchants. It has evolved into a panoply of open arguments about conservation vs. growth and development — usually resolved in a way that allows responsible development while preserving “the Austin lifestyle.”
How many cities have official birthday parties for Eeyore every year? Austin does! Austin is not your average “metro area.” We are “The Live Music Capital of the World®,” the State Capital, home of The University of Texas and other colleges and universities with combined student populations exceeding 100,000, and a place where most new graduates try to stay. Austin City Limits, South By Southwest, ACL Music Festival, downtown Segway and Duckboat tours, rowing centers, yacht clubs, the Texas Hill Country, the Highland Lakes, Austin Pets Alive, even a local Surfrider Foundation chapter,and much, much more. All of these make Austin Austin!!!