Austin Mobile Workshops Promise a Real-World Look at Innovative Solutions

July 25, 2014

By Doug Matthews, City of Austin

At this year’s conference, the mobile workshop program has been designed to focus on sustainability in all of its forms – environmental, economic and social. This reflects the goal of Austin’s Mayor and City Council to make Austin the most livable city in the country, a goal that is bound in every way to the concepts of sustainability and community resilience.

While much has been made of Austin’s surging economy (and the 100+ people that move to Austin every day), what’s really remarkable about the city is what’s happening on the ground between government, business, nonprofits and community organizations. This is your chance to learn more, and to learn how you might bring similar programs to your own community. 

In this first of four mobile workshop spotlights, we’ve chosen three worth marking your calendars for. You can also find the full list on the NLC website. Make your plans now, as these workshops are likely to fill fast!*

If your community is looking for new approaches to large-scale redevelopment, you’ll want to sign up for A New Urban Village on Wednesday, Nov. 19. When challenged with the redevelopment of the 700-acre site of Austin’s former airport, the community took a long view toward reinventing what urban redevelopment could looks like, with a focus on sustainability, mixed use, mixed income and green development. The resulting partnership includes 11 LEED-rated commercial buildings, a new children’s hospital, 860 green single-family homes, preservation land and more, just minutes from the city’s core. It’s a great opportunity to see one of NLC’s Howland Award-winning projects up-close and in-person. 

For those of you focused on the next generation, check out the Green Schools K-12 Sustainability Education workshop, also on Nov. 19. It’s a chance to learn how Austin is greening school campuses and curriculum with hands-on projects that encourage lifelong stewardship of the environment. The tour will highlight several on-campus projects funded through the City’s Bright Green Futures grant program. 

And over the past decade, Austin has developed a strong reputation as a hotbed for startup technology. In fact, Twitter was first debuted right here in Austin during South by Southwest. If you’re interested in learning how to encourage startup activity in your own community, we’ll be providing a Capital Factory Incubator Tour on Nov. 20. This unique incubator and co-working space brings together mentors, investors and tech startups across an entire floor of the Omni Hotel. There, startups receive guidance, seed funding, business planning assistance and other services that help them succeed. 

In the coming months, we’ll continue to pick a few of our notable mobile workshops and bring them to you here. There are plenty of reasons to choose to attend the Congress of Cities this year. Having the opportunity to learn about some of these local innovations and innovators first-hand is certainly a big one, and we look forward to sharing these successes with as many of you as we possibly can. 

*Mobile workshops are open to all conference registrants free of charge, but they do require additional registration as spots are limited.  You may add mobile workshops to your registration during the initial conference registration process, or you may go back and add them later by signing in to the registration site.