Skip to content

Should Building Taller Be Much, Much Easier?

Effective height restrictions may be hurting more of our cities than we realize.
relates to Should Building Taller Be Much, Much Easier?
Goody Clancy

In early December, the city council of Austin, Texas, adopted an exhaustive downtown plan that will guide every element of the neighborhood’s transformation over the next 25 years, from its historic preservation policies to investments in workforce housing to parking and transit infrastructure. Amid all of those potentially touchy topics, though, the loudest row grew out of one program sketched on just five pages of the full 183-page document.

It is the city’s new Bonus Density Program. With it, downtown Austin could become both a residential and economic epicenter of the city, a dense and diverse 21st century neighborhood with renewed parks, new businesses and more affordable housing – all if the community will just let developers there build taller buildings.