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The Mueller Development in Austin Texas

published on March 6, 2008

When the Robert Mueller Municipal airport closed down in 1999, plans began to be laid for one of the most ambitious building projects Austin has ever seen. All told there was 711 acres of prime real estate up for grabs, and the city knew that what happened to the land would be hugely important for the city’s future.

Fortunately for the city, the plans that are now coming to fruition are a model of the ideal kind of development of urban space in this new millennium. Commercial and residential space are well apportioned, with enough shop space for interesting businesses to spring up, but not so much that it will feel like living in the middle of the downtown.

Construction of much needed public works, such as the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, are under way. Similarly, the Austin Studios film making complex enriches the city as a whole. These two institutions will give the area a strong employment base.

What will also help for jobs in the area is the "town center" area of the development. This area of shops and restaurants will function as the neighborhood hotspot for nearby residents.

Perhaps most importantly, 25% of the housing will be part of affordable housing programs. These homes will be seamlessly integrated with the rest of the area, and will not be cordoned off into a single area that separates the disadvantaged from the rest of society, like the types of public housing that were built in the 1960s and largely exacerbated the problems of poverty.

Showing a similar level of intelligence and forethought into the planners of the Mueller development, there will be substantial green areas, including several small ponds. These areas will surely bring a certain serenity to the residents of the new homes. All told, there are about 140 acres of open space, just shy of one fifth of the total area.

Likewise, most of the building has been done with a certain degree of environmentalism in mind, and most building materials are recyclable and resource-efficient.  

In all, what was once a rather ugly airport is fast becoming one of the nation’s best examples of urban planning. It is expected to offer some of the highest quality of life in the city, and after initial trepidation by the neighbors of the area, extensive interaction between the business and grassroots communities in the area has led to the construction of what will become one of the nicest parts of the ever growing city of Austin.

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