Palm District Scenario Planning

February 2023   Austin, TX


  • Downtown Austin Alliance
Key Points

The Palm District Scenario Planning effort developed three development scenario options and a final preferred scenario in partnership with Downtown Austin Alliance, City of Austin, and Waterloo Greenway, building upon a previous vision identified by the City of Austin's Vision plan.


Through a series of workshops with local stakeholders, we worked to activate public and private spaces within the District through programming and amenities, including ground-floor use recommendations. Lively, well-used public spaces and services support a dynamic downtown culture.


Once complete, the Waterloo Greenway will be 35 acres of connected green space with a connected bike and pedestrian trail network. Visitors, residents, and workers will have new opportuntities for outdoor recreation and gathering spaces, and our scenarios built upon the Greenway's vision and plans. Improved connections, placemaking, and catalytic development sites were considered.

Scenario Planning

We used visualization techniques and modelining resources to build-out three alternative scenarios and the final preferred scenario for the project’s stakeholders and partners to determine the best vision for Palm District. These efforts will prepare the City to update future plans, policies, and programs, while meeting the community’s vision for vibrant street life, cultural amenities, and high quality uses such as retail, restaurants, offices and open spaces.

The Palm District Scenario Planning effort in downtown Austin is a visionary effort encouraging district stakeholders to reimagine the “last frontier of downtown” spanning from 15th street to the North, to Trinity street to the West, 1-35 to the East, and Lady Bird Lake to the South. Seated on the eastern edge of downtown, the Palm District is a distinct area essential to Austin’s music and cultural economies, boasting points of interest like Waller Creek, Red River Cultural District, Palm School, Rainey Street, the Emma S. Barrientos – Mexican American Cultural Center, and the Convention Center. The area is a dynamic gateway for visitors and a cultural touchstone for Austin’s African American and Mexican American communities. The City of Austin initiated a publicly supported Vision for the Palm District earlier in 2022. Building on top of the identified vision, Asakura Robinson co-developed development scenarios in partnership with Downtown Austin Alliance, City of Austin, and Waterloo Greenway, and through focus groups and public surveys, encouraged locals to push and pull the lever on the specific types of new investment they would like to see in the area to make the district a better place to live, work, and play.

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