Big Box Battles

In Austin, new ordinances seek growth limits, and aggressive design standards for commercial development.

Austin has focused on altering the big-box landscape as a key to curbing sprawl. The city has adopted design standards and environmental guidelines for commercial development aimed at maintaining the city's unique historic and architectural character.

"Austin's Commercial Design Standards apply to all new construction and redevelopment along major thoroughfares and scenic Hill Country roadways. They address landscaping; materials on exterior facades; building orientation; transit and pedestrian amenities; neighborhood access; lighting; parking; convertibility; signage; design modularity; and screening of loading facilities, mechanical equipment, storage and trash. Boxes, as well as other commercial buildings, must also comply with the city‘s sustainable building code, which requires integrated solar panels."

Thanks to Peter Slatin

Full Story: Big Box Battles

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