Mapping the opportunity to increase pedestrian value – Downtown Austin

This is an analysis similar to Space Syntax in terms of identifying pedestrian value based on different variables. In this case, the variables are proximity to: commercial land use, rail stations, bus stops, trails, parks and buildings.

When these are superimposed (overlaid), the result seems to clearly define the opportunity to increase the PEDESTRIAN VALUE of the east side of I-35. If a small section of I-35 was a “park on deck”, that value could be increased considerably.

High value of opportunity = Red

Low value of opportunity = Green

See the details of this analysis…




Affordability Unlocked – City of Austin

This development / urban design proposal tests the feasibility of the “Affordability Unlocked” Program (City of Austin) to address displacement and affordable housing provision in the City of Austin. The City of Austin Program provides development density increases and development fees waived.

The proposal was presented on July 24th, 2019 at the Urban Land Institute breakfast event and showcased its financial feasibility among other aspects. The proposal maximized density of 367 apartment units + 16 Townhomes (Detached “4-plexes”) aiming to address the concern for displacing multi-generational families that currently live in the area, while creating an attractive project for the neighborhood.

ULI gardner unlocked 02The bright minds behind the proposal brought each different lenses to look at the project. From the financials to the legal, design, construction and marketing points of view, the team successfully developed a fascinating proposal.

The winning proposal was presented by team members in the picture below. From left to right: Julio Carrillo (Senior Planner / Urban Designer), Justin Brodnax, Brittany Stanford, Mackenzie Herron, Joshua Hogan, Steven Minor, Spencer Roy, Jewels Cain, Bryce Bash, and Jose Martinez (not pictured).

See complete proposal here…

ULI gardner unlocked 01ULI gardner unlocked 03

Austin monitor has mentioned the proposal in this article.

AISD – a masterplan study with housing options

This is a quick snapshot of what was proposed in a competition for a few acres of land in Austin TX. The winning proposal pitched the idea of a “CASA TRIPLE” which emphasized mixed use / mixed income and multi-generational living arrangement options, which are surprisingly avoided in Austin:

  • A “triplex” architectural solution for housing: “CASA TRIPLE”
  • Truly vertical mix uses an entertainment options at the core of the neighborhood
  • Street connectivity options and flexibility

winning proposal casa triple.pngAISD land ATX.png

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Value of street network design (Space syntax – UCL)

This presentation by Tim Stonor showcases techniques for capturing the economic performance and social value of places.

With tools like “SPACE SYNTAX” and its integration to GIS software, urban / city planning will be a much easier process. The economic principles and trends in our cities can be visually captured and analyzed here when looking into street network design.


Safe roads ATX – Where should we focus on?

2015 ended as the year with most deaths in Austin, TX. These “accidents” happened in clusters within the city. Do you want to know where these clusters are? If you click here, a map will show you most of these locations.

A map labeled “B” within a circle overlays deaths and sidewalks absent in the city. This is intended to highlight the relationship between most “Accidents” and pedestrian-friendly environments.


Navigating thru these maps, a few conclusions are drawn:

  1. Automobile-oriented environments see more deaths than pedestrian-friendly areas (I-35, airport blvd).
  2. We should create pedestrian-friendly environments where the City of Austin has identified high-priority absent sidewalks.
  3. We should retrofit car-oriented areas and convert them to pedestrian-friendly environments.
  4. We should prioritize areas where 311 calls are made.
  5. We should prioritize areas close to parks where lots of people attend to enjoy nature, festivals, to practice sports, etc.
  6. We should prioritize areas close to bus stops, to ensure all non-drivers commute safely.
  7. We should prioritize areas where deaths are happening!!.
  8. We should select and take action to retrofit areas by overlaying priorities.

The pre-conclusion showcased here gives a 35% weight of influence in the decision to map “B” (location of deaths), while giving less influence to other maps.

If we want to make our city safe, and if we want to achieve Vision Zero goals (no deaths), can this approach be improved somehow? What would you include / change?

*to clarify, each “scenario” (labeled “A” thru “E”) is defined below.


Click here for a full resolution graph and analysis.

The data used so far is overlaid on the City’s layer for absent sidewalks developed by the City of Austin.

A. Clusters of 311 call requests: These clusters are accounting for calls requesting new sidewalks or sidewalk repairs.

B. Proximity to accidents causing deaths: In theory, the more attention redesigning these areas, the more accidents and deaths we will avoid. In my opinion this data set has the highest % of influence for this approach.

C. Proximity to parks: In my opinion this is a must, but not with a super high % of influence, since parks are mostly pedestrian oriented already.

D. Proximity to bus stops: Outside of 300 ft (a block size), the farther away, the less priority (% of influence) should have this data set.

E. Bus stop location: Within 300ft (a block size); in my opinion the % of influence of this should be higher than D, but not higher than B.


Vision Zero approach to ped projects – Austin TX

This GIS analysis overlays only 3 sets of data as an example of how a VISION ZERO approach can help redefining priorities to future pedestrian-oriented projects. Vision Zero goals “add-up” to existing priorities defined by the City.


With the inclusion of accident data and other factors in the equation, other patterns may be recognized.



Ideally this analysis will include more than just 3 sets of data. The PAC (Pedestrian Advisory Council) is working on this, so more updates will come soon.

See analysis at full resolution here…

Activity Centers in Austin – Are they walkable?

A simple quick analysis of the existing sidewalk infrastructure within the Imagine Austin Centers show how “walkable” these centers currently are.

In sum, only 5.03% of total sidewalks are located within these Activity Centers. Downtown Austin, holds 28.04% of all sidewalks within these centers.

image post


Why do we want these Centers to be more walkable? Should we prioritize funding on pedestrian infrastructure within these areas?

More development about this post will come soon, as other variables will help us understand how we have been building pedestrian infrastructure in our city.