The City of Austin’s Soul-y Austin Business District Incubator is a program under theEconomic Development Department that partners with local merchant associations inorder to support the development of commercial districts. As a studio, our goal is todevelop a form-based code system, applicable to this corridor as well as othercommercial districts in Austin that will be redeveloped in the near future. The new codewill build upon Austin’s ‘Code Next’ and focus on smaller scale commercial district andcorridor design such as pedestrian network design strategies, facade standards,streetscape design standards etc.
The site runs along Manor Road between I-35 and Airport Blvd and includes the blockson either side of the corridor. The shaded areas (image above) defines the district’sboundaries (City of Austin Economic Development department.) It connects theUniversity of Texas to the Mueller development. The cultural district is home tobusinesses including restaurants and coffee shops as well as a fitness center and theater.Local businesses have partipated in the Soul-y program since 2015.
The final task includes:
- To analyze the relationships between streetscape, pedestrian infrastructure, and retail sales along the Manor Road corridor between IH35 and Airport Blvd.
- To analyze transportation strategies for framing Manor Road as a multimodalcorridor linking the Mueller Development, the MLK MetroRail Station, and UTAustin.
- To analyze façade standards, street furniture, or other urban design practices thatmay contribute to Manor Road District identity and sales.
- To investigate building/land use/zoning code modifications that may reduceburdens on small, local businesses and potentially form a “small business district”zoning category.
- To develop a strategy for local businesses or cultural spaces preservation andretention.
This studio won 2016 CRP Design Excellence Award.