How Multiple Business Districts Can Hurt Dual-income Families

Activity Centers as described in Imagine Austin are akin to the Multiple Nuclei Model for a city layout created by Chauncy Harris and Edward Ullman in the 1945 article The Nature of Cities.  Harris and Ullman argued that cities do not grow a single nucleus but several separate nuclei. Each nucleus acts as a growth point.  Because of increased car ownership, people can live in less-dense single-family style neighborhoods near the nuclei containing their job and thus avoid unreasonably long commute time. Continue reading

Homes not Handcuffs

AURA continues to call for the decriminalization of homelessness and supports the efforts of the Homes not Handcuffs coalition. In light of the newly released 2019 Point in Time count, it’s more important than ever that Austin provide housing for people experiencing homelessness - not a date with a judge. Eric Goff, an AURA board member, says “The people’s strong endorsement of a historic $250 million housing bond speaks to the community’s strong desire to aid people experiencing homelessness, not put them in handcuffs for merely resting on a sidewalk or in a public place.”

AURA Statement on Rewriting The Land Development Code

As we write a new land development code we are not merely choosing which buildings we’re allowed to build and where we're allowed to build them. We are making a choice about what kind of city we want Austin to be. Do we want to be a city that looks backward to an imagined golden past, while becoming increasingly more expensive, environmentally destructive, and exclusionary? Or do we want to be a city that looks forward to a better future? One that's affordable, environmentally sustainable, and full of opportunities for everyone? Continue reading

AURA Board Elections

AURA will be holding board elections at the end of February to fill five of our eleven board seats.  Continue reading

AURA Response to the Draft Austin Strategic Mobility Plan

AURA sent the letter below to the Austin Transportation Department and members of Austin City Council on January 13, 2019.  AURA, a grassroots organization that believes in an Austin for Everyone, began its existence as a transit advocacy organization. Since then, we have released multiple reports and engaged in continual advocacy around transportation and transit issues. The Austin Strategic Mobility Plan (ASMP) will be a key document in shaping the future of Austin. As it stands, our current mobility policies have largely led to unaffordable, disconnected, unhealthy, unsafe, and environmentally destructive sprawl.  With the ASMP, especially in combination with land use reforms, we can begin charting a new course—one that includes environmental justice and greenhouse gas reductions, economic vitality, effective transit, and safer, more walkable communities everywhere. Continue reading

What is Mobility Justice?

“How can cities, including Austin, use mobility justice to guide future investment in transportation systems? What is Austin doing right now to offer more affordable mobility options for vulnerable populations and communities?”  These important questions were discussed at an Imagine Austin Speaker Series on Mobility Justice on Saturday, January 12th at the Asian American Resource Center Ballroom.  Dr. Adonia E. Lugo presented "Mobility Justice: People Power and the Future of Transportation" and shared her work on “mobility justice, the practice of accounting for the diverse vulnerabilities that individuals carry with them as they travel through shared public spaces.”   Continue reading

AURA Response to the Project Connect Vision Plan

AURA, a grassroots organization that believes in an Austin for Everyone, got our start doing transit advocacy. In 2014, we worked to improve the previous Project Connect plan. Unfortunately, our data-driven input wasn’t accepted, which led us to oppose the overall 2014 bond because it would unsustainably increase the per-rider cost and would lead to an overall reduction in ridership. We’ve hoped that this round of Project Connect goes better, and so far it is. We appreciate the data and analysis that went into the corridor selection, that there has been more transparency in general, and particularly that the Orange Line seems like it could be a transformative high-capacity transit line. Our approach to Project Connect this go-around is to call for strong corridor selection, careful selection of mode, and a focus on more sustainable future for Capital Metro by limiting unproductive and inequitable expenses while increasing the transit agency’s income. A key way to do this is by focusing on reducing the per-rider cost for new investments, which frees up funds to accommodate more riders. A focus on a high-quality transit network for Capital Metro will increase equity, focus the fight on climate change, and improve the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Continue reading

AURA Statement on Police Oversight, Transit Justice, and Vision Zero

AURA believes in an Austin for Everyone, and one of the main ways our city can do that is by finally desegregating our neighborhoods. That will mean that everyone can afford to live in the neighborhood they want to live in, and that the place is designed so that they can. A big part of a place being “your” neighborhood is that it feels like home. That’s why we’re in favor of implementing an Office of Police Oversight in Austin as quickly as possible. The Office should ensure that information about critical incidents or policy violations be released to the public so that public confidence in the police and police safety can be improved.  Continue reading

AURA Statement on 2018 Elections

AURA is a grassroots, all-volunteer organization that advocates for an Austin that is inclusive, open to change, and welcoming to everyone. Our members worked hard for candidates and ballot propositions in the City of Austin that share this vision. We hosted two candidate forums We knocked on thousands of doors, including three days of action for endorsed candidates We handed out thousands of fliers at the polls We participated in advocating for a huge affordable housing investment from the very beginning, including letter writing with Habitat Young Professionals. This hard work paid off, and we are very pleased about the results of this election. More than 60% of voters in Austin endorsed a pro-housing mayor.  Prop J, which would have tied our city’s hands in addressing everything from our housing crisis to climate change to gentrification, failed despite its proponents’ fearmongering and dishonesty. And last but very much not least, Austin’s largest affordable housing bond ever just passed. Austin is for everyone.   Continue reading

AURA supports dockless vehicles

AURA has joined with Bike Austin, CNU Central Texas, Environment Texas, Vision Zero ATX, Walk Austin, and TexPIRG to send the following letter to the Austin City Council urging the city to increase protected bike/scooter lanes to meet the high demand, and decrease conflicts between street users:   Continue reading