Texas Architect January/February 2014: Ecologies
This issue on “Ecologies” explores urban design across Texas and focuses on the increasing importance of green infrastructure for our cities. With the rehabilitation of the San Antonio River, the state now has the longest linear park in the nation. Dallas is also leading urban design trends with its progressive parks plan — Klyde Warren Park is just one example of the good work being done. Houston and Austin are also both relying on green infrastructure to create valuable public spaces. Other important urban design initiatives featured include mixed-use development in downtown Austin, El Paso’s first net-zero senior housing project, and the push for San Antonio’s missions to be added to the World Heritage List.
Austin’s Ecological Affluence by Dean J. Almy, AIA E mbedded in an ecotone at the interface of the Balcones Escarpment and the Blackland Prairie, Austin’s geography is central to its environmental distinctiveness and urban identity. When Edwin Waller planned the city in the 1830s, he bound the grid by the banks of the Colorado River to the south, Shoal Creek to the west, Waller Creek to the east, and the planned Capitol Square to the north. From the beginning, Austin’s hilly topography and proximity to water have had profound effects on the city’s evolving architectural character. Today, as the city is facing exponential population growth and ongoing development pressure, a series of initiatives could establish Austin’s green infrastructure as the preeminent agent of a new compact and connected city. Vancouver on the Colorado In the 1960s, the character of the river’s green infrastructure was substantially changed with the construction of Longhorn Dam, which formed 54 Texas Architect 1/2 2014