WATCH: CodeTALK on the environment (March 29, 2017)
Challenge: The cycles and intensity of drought and rain events are changing. In order to be a resilient city, Austin needs new ways to use water creatively.
Solution: The new code encourages smarter use of water. For instance, developments can be more resilient by taking advantage of stormwater for irrigation, reducing pressure on Austin’s water supply.
Challenge: Projects that do not increase impervious cover are generally not required to provide flood mitigation, even if the site contributes to flooding downstream. This can perpetuate flooding problems.
Solution: Projects are required to contribute solutions to address downstream flooding. Providing flood mitigation for redevelopment reduces flooding and addresses longstanding problems due to insufficient flood controls or drainage.
Urban Forest Preservation
Challenge: Tree protection standards in the existing code are spread out between sections and are unclear about what to do in cases of conflicting rules.
Solution: Urban forest protection and replenishment standards are consolidated and located more prominently. Greater emphasis is given to tree and soil quality, preserving smaller trees, and tree survey and protection requirements for greenfield and urban sites.
Open Space and Parks
Challenge: As the urban core densifies, fewer residents have their own back yards. Existing parks and open spaces face additional pressure from a growing population.
Solution: New standards for large developments, and a new method for calculating open space, provide greater diversity and prominence of open space and parks, and promote expansion of trail networks and protected waterways.
Nature in the City
Challenge: Natural habitat for plants and wildlife in Austin have been lost as the city has grown.
Solution: A new palette of tools incorporates nature into the city using green roofs, green walls, stormwater collection and re-use, pervious pavement, and rain gardens to maximize the benefits of high-functioning landscapes.