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What policies and approaches will you advocate to promote neighborhood improvement, and avoid neighborhood protectionism, as Austin changes and grows?

Natasha Harper-Madison

City Council, District 1

I believe it’s important for us to be passionate about our beautiful, rich past, but also pragmatic about our city’s future and the necessary actions we must take for Austin to grow sustainably and affordably.

This includes looking at the tremendous adaptive potential of under-used existing buildings/housing stock, as well as conscious development that works to complement the existing architectural style of the neighborhood.

Of course, new construction is also needed to keep pace with our growing need for housing, but making room doesn’t require us to ruin the historic fabric of our neighborhoods. Almost anywhere you look, there are opportunities for sensitive and compatible infill that can enrich urban character rather than diminish it.

First would be to address our exclusionary zoning issues. Gentle density like fourplexes, triplexes, rowhomes, and cottage courts should be permitted by-right in all parts of our city. Preservation districts that offer affordability in perpetuity should be legal in all parts of the city.

I believe we can overcome a lot of the neighborhood protectionism we will encounter by implementing an urban infill program like the City of Edmonton, Canada. The city has invested in outreach tools and guidance for infill builders so they can better serve the communities they build in and communicate their projects with the community. They also invested heavily in a marketing campaign to promote their city-wide infill road map clearly and educate the general public on the reasoning behind it and the benefits.