This engaging project prompted a planning process that promotes community conversations and visioning around the green space that surrounds Central Williamson Creek.
There was a variety of ways for community members to share their stories and visions for the future of the Central Williamson Creek Greenway.
Asakura Robinson worked with stakeholders to identify where recreational opportunities should be located through community events and working groups.
Central Williamson Creek is a stretch of nearly continuous greenway along Williamson Creek located in a primarily residential area of South Austin. The project area presented a unique opportunity to bring healthy park amenities to provided landscape architecture, urban ecology and public engagement services for this impactful project.
The engagement process began in May 2020, and was an opportunity for our firm to plan creative community engagement activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. This project had an extensive community engagement process. Completed entirely during th peak of the COVID19 pandemic, creative ways of engaging with community members were found. There were three pop-ups along the creek, five virtual events, six virtual “creek chats”, and 2,200 votes casted online relating to community priorities for the Greenway using the virtual platform Social Pinpoint. There were 700 feedback comments on the draft.
This community-led effort involved a collaboration model of a Community Working Group of eight neighbors and a City Working Group of department representatives from the Watershed Protection Department, Parks and Recreation Department, Public Works and more. The collaborative model put community members and City of Austin stakeholders on equal footing: in both resources to support their time, and power in making decisions that balance community priorities and environmental sustainability for the health of the greater community.
Additionally, Asakura Robinson promoted vital ecological benefits, such as flood control, habitat for wildlife, carbon sequestration, and more, all while providing opportunities to develop ways that residents can connect with nature and use the green spaces for recreation, relaxation, and social gathering. This plan serves as an example of how a grassroots and foundation-founded master planning process can become the “plan of record” for a City. Our continuous engagement with the City of Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department and the Watershed Protection Department led to the plan being accepted by the City of Austin’s Parks board in August 2022. This is an example of how plans that are not municipally driven can be a grassroots effort that provides the framework for implementation into the future. Our continuous engagement with the public on this progress made community members aware of planning process for trails and green spaces.