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Strategic Housing Plan: Demographertized

Thursday, April 13, 2017 by Elizabeth Pagano

City Demographer Ryan Robinson weighed in on the draft of the Austin Strategic Housing Plan up for approval today in an April 11 memo to Assistant City Manager Bert Lumbreras, saying it is “extremely well-done and presents a thoughtful approach to mitigating affordability issues as housing in Austin becomes more expensive” overall. However, in the memo (embedded below) Robinson explains that the plan appears to treat the city’s housing needs and goals as separate from the region – a path the demographer warns against. Specifically, Robinson notes that ignoring the trends and planning for the city to gain an increased share of the region’s growth, instead of continuing its downward trend, and ignoring the suburban growth “seems unrealistic” and is “basically a level of population growth that would be demographically improbable to achieve.” Robinson also recommends that the plan include district-specific goals, and suggested strategies for development code and transportation system fixes towards affordability that include a regional transit system and a Land Development Code that: supports a wide diversity of housing types and densities; supports the preservation of homes, but allows for infill; and prioritizes the preservation of existing, market-rate affordable housing over the creation of new housing stock.

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