The AIA Austin Urban Design Committee and MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning worked on big ideas for the future of small area planning that reimagines an urban design framework for ‘complete communities’ in Austin.

Full archives of the project here.

Committee Priorities for 2018

Collaborate with a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Urban Design / Planning School workshop semester about Small Area Planning & Missing Middle Housing in Austin.

Act as the ‘client’ for a MIT studio focusing on small area planning and missing middle housing in Austin. As a site planning workshop, the class will be exploring sustainable development strategies and how housing and mixed use development may be inserted in key locations of the city (vacant lots within existing neighborhoods, redevelopment zones, etc.) based on research, site analysis, and interviews/meetings with city officials, local organizations/institutions, and residents. The students will be asked to design a small area plan and missing middle framework that shifts across scales (city, district, neighborhood, and block) and culminates into studies which show options for the build-out of the blocks (housing type, program, natural systems, mobility, etc.) and their impact within their respective neighborhoods/districts.

We are very excited about this and encourage all members to attend collaborations with the MIT workshop as we are the client and need to provide local feedback and expertise. This will be a great opportunity for the city and AIA Austin.

Workshop is occurring January – May (more detailed information to be expressed during next UD Committee meetings on 01/10/18 & 01/24/18, please attend meetings if interested).

Missing Middle Public Awareness

  • AIA Austin Homes Tour
    1. Continue to enhance the UD Committee’s work completed since 2015 to highlight Missing Middle Housing in conjunction with annual Homes Tour and further promote concepts of Missing Middle within the AIA organization.
  • Mueller Tour
    1. Try to setup a missing middle tour of Mueller (similar to what CNU-CTX did last year around their film festival) for AIA members and/or public to highlight various missing middle housing typologies.

Provide Assistance to Local Urban Design Initiatives

  • Provide committee assistance for Urban Design initiatives in the form of volunteers to support events, technical assistance if applicable, and creating informational graphics and text. Elevate the perception of the UD Committee and its members as Urban Design leaders/experts in their local community.
  • Possible Collaborating Entities & Initiatives
    1. Pop-Up Plaza – Build off of the success of last year’s Pop-Up Plaza and promote the approval of the city’s first 12-month demonstration open space period for a public space on South Congress & Barton Springs
    2. VIVA Streets
    3. Parking Day ATX
    4. Design Week
    5. Trail Foundation
    6. AIA Design Voice
    7. CodeNEXT Advisory Group
    8. ULI
    9. CNU
    10. DAA
    11. City of Austin

Create Educational Opportunities To Highlight Urban Design Topics

  • Create educational opportunities to highlight Urban Design topics & initiatives in the local community in the form of lectures, tours, and luncheons. Elevate the perception of the UD Committee and its members as Urban Design leaders/experts in their local community.
  • Possible Collaborating Entities & Educational Opportunities
    1. AIA Homes Tour
    2. AIA Luncheon Speaker Series – UD Focused Lecture
    3. Imagine Austin Speaker Series
    4. AIA Austin Summer Series Session (same session as TxA)
    5. TxA Convention Session (same session as Summer Series)
    6. Mueller Missing Middle Tour

UD Committee Alignment With AIA Austin Strategic Goals

Membership – Encourage and develop membership size, diversity, engagement, leadership participation, and member value.

  • Increase the diversity of members and perspectives.
  • Cultivate allied memberships and engage them in the realization of AIA’s strategic priorities.
  • Intensively recruit new members.
  • Prepare members to become ambassadors for the organization.
  • Assess all efforts and programs based on their added value for AIA Austin members.

Public Role – Raise awareness of the value of architecture and broaden the influence of architects.

  • Increase architects’ voice in discussions regarding place making and the design of public space.
  • Be a respected advocate on civic issues.
  • Exert a positive influence on land development policy.
  • Sponsor recurring, highly-anticipated, and well-attended public events that manifest AIA’s mission and thought leadership role.
  • Improve external communications with a unified and distinctive approach.

Organization Alignment – Improve the efficiency and impact of governance, staffing, and member engagement.

  • Review and revise events, programs, and the committee structure to align with strategic priorities, better leveraging volunteer and staff participation.
  • Continually evaluate and hone the organization over the course of the next two+ years to take a more visible and impactful public role.
  • Increase diversity and inclusion, expand external communications, and offer enhanced professional development for members—all to increase member value.