The city is seeking input from residents as work on an update to Imagine Austin, the city's long-range comprehensive plan, begins this year.

The big picture

Imagine Austin was adopted by city officials back in 2012 as a 30-year roadmap for planning and policy decisions based around identified community priorities. The city's guiding document has been revised several times since its creation and received an in-depth report for its 10th year.

Imagine Austin and its amendments touch on issues such as housing and development, mobility, workforce and education, the local arts and cultural scene, and resource conservation and the environment. The full plan is available online.

The plan's overhaul 12 years after its passage was inspired by shifting factors such as the city's rapid demographic changes, the new City Council representation system adopted in the 2010s, spiking housing costs, and major new development and infrastructure initiatives, according to the planning department.

“Our comprehensive plan is a living, breathing document that should reflect the values of our community,” Planning Director Lauren Middleton-Pratt said in a statement. “The Austin of 2024 doesn’t look like the Austin of 2012, and we know our city will continue to change and evolve. We look forward to collaborating with as many Austinites as possible to ensure that we create a document that shepherds an equitable, opportunity-rich future for everyone.”

Middleton-Pratt said an Imagine Austin update was one of her priorities soon after taking the lead at the planning department last year. The project eventually received $3 million in the city's fiscal year 2023-24 budget supporting the work that's now underway.

Get involved

Changes to Imagine Austin are meant to keep the vision plan relevant and reinforce its focus on "racial equity, resilience, sustainability and access to opportunity" for the city's next several decades, according to the planning department.

The multiphased update to the civic plan is expected to last through 2026 and will include a series of community events and surveys. To start this year's outreach, the city has launched a new public engagement website and is beginning to host informational events around town.

The first of those Imagine Austin sessions were held on June 14 and 15. The next will take place on June 22 during the Party at the Peoples House at City Hall, located at 301 W. Second St.

Information on future events will be posted on the project's SpeakUp Austin page, where residents can also sign up for updates on the process.

What else?

In addition to the new Imagine Austin project, the planning department has also been working through a lengthy list of revisions to the city's land development code that governs new construction.

City Council members have proposed many changes with the stated intent of improving housing affordability and streamlining development processes. Those include more local planning initiatives and citywide policy changes.

Most recently, officials approved the "HOME," or Housing Options for Middle-Income Empowerment, initiative in addition to relaxing building limits near single-family homes and along future transit routes.

More information on the planning department's land code amendment agenda is available online.