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We are working on a shared vision for this complex, culturally rich and rapidly transforming part of downtown Austin. 

The City of Austin Housing and Planning Department is leading the Palm District Planning Initiative with support from The Downtown Austin Alliance, Waterloo Greenway, Capital Metro, the Austin Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Austin) and the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. 

The planning area for this initiative spans from 15th Street to the north, Lady Bird Lake to the south, Trinity Street to the west and I-35 to the east. It is bisected north to south by Waller Creek and intersected east to west by the proposed 5th Street Mexican American Heritage Corridor. 

Palm District map

The Palm District Planning Initiative will amend the Downtown Austin Plan to guide future development in the Eastern portion of downtown Austin, linking land use, urban design, transportation, economic development, housing, public spaces, historic preservation, cultural arts, and social equity. 

This initiative will ensure that public and private investments in the area benefit residents, visitors and the larger community. It provides opportunities to celebrate and uplift cultural heritage through intentional design driven by community input. This area will honor the presence and experiences of Indigenous Peoples, Mexican Americans/ Tejanos, Latinos, African Americans, as well as the Chinese, Greek, German, Lebanese, and Jewish immigrants who lived and worked in the District.

The project is currently gathering community feedback on the Draft Vision Framework, with adoption of the final revised Vision Framework slated on the horizon for Summer 2022. Goals for the Vision Framework include creating safe and welcoming places, preserving and interpreting history, enhancing educational and cultural assets, providing economic benefits, improving mobility, increasing access to housing and increasing access to nature and natural systems. 

About the Palm District Plan

Project Timeline & Summary

On July 26, 2021, a Design Assistance Team (DAT) from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Communities by Design presented their preliminary findings and recommendations for the Palm District. The Design Assistance Team is an independent team of national experts assembled by AIA that conducted research, reviewed public input, attended community visioning forums and led additional stakeholder interviews over four days in July, 2021. These recommendations can be found here and a presentation on the findings can be watched here. 

At the conclusion of the Visioning Phase, city staff compiled a summary of what was heard through the AIA team’s process as well as through other engagement channels. What was heard was summarized to guide the development of a Draft Vision Framework for the district. 

The Draft Vision Framework has been divided into 4 thematic elements: Inclusive Growth, Culture, Connections, and Nature. Opportunities in each element for the Palm District Planning Initiative are detailed in the Draft Vision Framework. Throughout Spring and Summer 2022, The Draft Vision Framework will be undergoing a community feedback and revision process. The Vision Framework is slated to be finalized by the end of Summer 2022. 

Palm District Planning Initiative

This week, the City of Austin released the Draft Vision Framework for the Palm District Planning Initiative, a planning process to guide the future of one of downtown Austin’s most iconic and fastest-growing districts. We encourage everyone to review the Draft Vision Framework, watch the virtual webinar and video summary, and weigh in on the four thematic elements of the Draft Vision: Inclusive Growth, Culture, Connections, and Nature through an online survey. Throughout Spring and Summer 2022, The Draft Vision Framework will be undergoing a community feedback and revision process. The Vision Framework is slated to be finalized by the end of Summer 2022. In the subsequent stages, staff will refine the draft Vision Framework based on community input, evaluate scenarios, and develop the final Palm District Small Area Plan. The Downtown Alliance goal for the plan is that it is actionable, implementable, and has a leadership structure and funding identified to accomplish the plan priorities.  

Draft Vision Framework

During the Visioning phase, activities to engage and gather community feedback were conducted. Here’s a summary of what’s been heard so far. This input influenced the Draft Vision Framework, which is live and is actively seeking community feedback and input.

View the Report Here

Get Involved

The Palm District Planning Initiative SpeakUp Austin webpage includes a survey, an interactive map, and the latest version of the Draft Vision Framework. Here are 3 ways you can get involved and give your feedback on the Draft Vision Framework today: 

Staff can be contacted via email at PalmDistrictPlanning@austintexas.gov, by phone at 311, via web using the SpeakUp Austin webpage Q&A tool or by sending postal mail to Attn: Palm District Plan, Housing and Planning Department, P.O. Box 1088, Austin, TX 78767. 

Community Engagement

To view additional information about the project, including history for the planning area, ways to participate in the Draft Vision Framework revision process and complete timeline, visit the Palm District Planning Initiative SpeakUp Austin webpage.

Get Involved

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Photo credit: Jordan-Ellison. [Palm Elementary School], photograph, 192X; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth125275/: accessed September 30, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.

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