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How the Past Can Inform the Future: Observations on Connectivity


When we originally purchased our house in the Allandale neighborhood of Austin, it seemed really far from just about everything.  The neighborhood demographic was well above the median age for Austin – in fact, many of the original owners still lived in these homes.  But as growth in Austin exploded, the face of Allandale changed.  More young families moved to the neighborhood, home values escalated, and it has become one of the most successful residential areas in the city.  Obviously, the three rules of real estate are in play here: location, location, and location.  The reason for the popularity and rise in home values is attributable, in part, to its proximity to downtown.  But there are other neighborhoods that are close to the center of the city that are not as successful in maintaining property value growth.  After living in this neighborhood for seventeen years, I have come to recognize a few things that are responsible for its success, and I believe it offers some insight in developing new communities.

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Parmer Lane Sustainable Roadway Project Breaks Ground

This month marked the groundbreaking of the Parmer Lane Sustainable Roadway project, a 1.5 mile extension of Parmer Lane from US Highway 290 to State Highway 130. The result of a partnership between the City of Austin, Travis County, and Titan Capital Investments with local developer Dwyer Realty, the Parmer Lane Sustainable Roadway embraces a relatively new approach to roadway design known as Low Impact Development.  Rather than trapping water runoff through a conventional stormwater system, this roadway was designed with a series of bioswales alongside it. Though detention ponds have improved the way we treat and release stormwater, the bioswale system takes sustainability one step further by distributing the water over a larger area and allowing it to soak back into the soil much closer to where nature originally intended.

In addition to providing a much-needed connection between Highways 290 and 130, the Parmer Lane Sustainable Roadway will also open the door for development of the Wildhorse Ranch master planned community.  Situated on approximately 1,450 acres, Wildhorse is being developed by Titan Capital and Dwyer Realty, and is expected to have its first homes under construction early next year.  RVi is providing master planning and landscape architecture services for both Wildhorse and the Parmer Lane Sustainable Roadway project.

See more groundbreaking photos on RVi's Facebook Page ››

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Barbara's Adventures in Portugal

RVi Vice President Barbara Austin recently returned from a 2-week trip to Portugal with some amazing stories, spectacular photos, and a tiny bit of World Cup fever.  Barbara joined 51 other people for the trip – a group which included many fellow landscape architecture alumni and their families.  Ranging in age from 18 to 80, this diverse group visited the cities of Lisbon, Sintra, Cascais, Queluz, Evora, Nazare, Alcobaca, and Fatima.

Read more and see additional photos from Barbara's trip on the RVi Blog ››