Imagining a Better Future: City of Austin’s Sustainability Plan Wins National Award

‘Imagine Austin’ recently won the ‘Sustainable Plan Award’ from the American Planning Association (APA), a professional organisation representing the field of city and regional planning in the United States. The City of Austin’s sustainability plan, adopted by City Council in 2012, is a 30-year vision for how the city can grow in a compact and connected way while strengthening social equity and the economy.

“We are honored that Imagine Austin won the inaugural Sustainable Plan Award,” said Carol Haywood, Division Manager of Development Services in the City of Austin’s Planning and Development Review Department. “This is a major accomplishment due largely to the involvement of over 18,500 participants as well as the support of the City of Austin.” 

Photo credit: Imagine Austin

The APA’s Awards for Excellence in Sustainability honours those projects, policies, plans, and people who show exemplary scholarship, leadership, and inspiration in sustainability planning and implementation.

Design firm WRT, the lead consultant for the City of Austin when the plan was being developed, nominated Imagine Austin for the award.

“Fueled by ideas and contributions from the Austin community, this 30-year plan for the city is based on Austin’s greatest asset: its people,” the City’s website states.

Imagine Austin identifies eight ‘priority programs’ that provide the structure and direction to implement the plan:

  • Invest in a compact and connected Austin
  • Sustainably manage our water resources
  • Continue to grow Austin’s economy by investing in our workforce, education systems, entrepreneurs, and local businesses
  • Use green infrastructure to protect environmentally sensitive areas and integrate nature into the city
  • Grow and invest in Austin’s creative economy
  • Develop and maintain household affordability throughout Austin
  • Create a Healthy Austin Program
  • Revise Austin’s development regulations and processes to promote a compact and connected city

The Imagine Austin planning process kicked off in 2009, subsequently engaging thousands of residents and receiving more than 18,500 inputs from the community over a 2-year period. The City hopes to complete its aims by 2039, the 200th anniversary of Austin’s founding.