Bad News For Urbanists Austin Is Sprawling As It Grows Report Says

Dated: 05/30/2017

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For those interested in the debate around CodeNEXT, which will shape Austin’s development policies for decades, a new data analysis from the New York Times provides some interesting food for thought.

The Texas capital had one of the highest rates in the nation for sprawl — the decrease in average neighborhood density — from 2010-2016, at the same time the population has soared, according to numbers parsed by The Upshot, a data journalism project by the newspaper.

That can certainly be seen in Austin Business Journal's list of the metro's fastest-growing residential developments, with hundreds of home starts on the suburban fringe.

Only San Antonio has sprawled more over the past six years than Austin. As a whole, the Times found in its analysis of Census that 80 percent of the nation's metros with at least 1 million people have become less dense.

For years, development advocates and urbanists in Austin have called for the construction of denser housing options — from building more units in general to supplying some of the “missing middle” stock that is cheaper than a new downtown condo.

Critics of urbanist policies might counter that the Times’ number crunching reflects the market dynamics at play in Austin, and that more road construction is needed to provide for the masses of people moving from the city center to the suburbs.

Click here to read the article from Will Anderson from Austin Business Journal.

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