Five Sites to School You on Austin

Posted on: August 24th, 2010 by Julia Rocchi

Maybe it's all the shiny backpacks dotting the landscape, or the scent of new crayon boxes in the air, but we at Preservation Nation are in a serious back-to-school mood. If you're feeling the same urge to return to Mrs. Miller's third-grade classroom -- yet have such minor things like "adulthood" and "a job" standing in your way -- don't worry, we've got you covered.

As we head toward the National Preservation Conference in October, we've put together a lesson plan on Austin that takes you from the bird's-eye development view down to the street level (literally). The goal: to give you some Texas-sized context on why this city matters as a living, breathing example of preservation in action.

Let's get started!

  1. Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan. All cities change with time, but Austin is growing by leaps and bounds, having doubled its population every 20 to 25 years since 1839. The Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan now involves all Austinites, old and new, in an important discussion about the city's future: How will an estimated influx of 750,000 people over the next 30 years impact a city known for its distinct sense of place? Read the evolving plan to see where they're heading.
  2. Weird City: Sense of Place and Creative Resistance in Austin, Texas by Joshua Long. What started as Long's doctoral thesis is now a book about the struggle to “keep Austin weird” while also maintaining a thriving economy. Bring this book along on your Labor Day vacation to delve into Austin's delicate balancing act between growth and tradition.
  3. Austinist. We know most of our readers don't live in Austin, but if you follow Austinist, you can pretend you do. This weekday news and culture website shares all the latest events, exhibits, shows, specials, and other happenings from our favorite quirky city.
  4. Exploring Historic Austin. Revisit our preservation-centric Google Map to not only see the National Preservation Conference sites and field sessions, but also to understand just how much history fills the Austin landscape.
  5. CNN Video: Arts Center Re-uses to Rebuild. Zero in on one prime example of preservation in action -- how the Palmer Auditorium saved millions of dollars by re-using the building's existing materials and transforming itself into a state-of-the-art performing arts center.

Ok, your turn -- what other websites, books, people, or plans do you know of that can help turn visitors into in-the-know Austinites ahead of the National Preservation Conference?

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi is the director of digital content at the National Trust. By day she wrangles content; by night (and weekends), she shops local, travels to story-rich places, and walks around looking up at buildings.