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Old 05-31-2010, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
28 posts, read 94,611 times
Reputation: 59
Default How did Austin get to be so cool?

I've been driving around Austin the past few days looking for a place to live as well as hanging out with friends this Memorial Day weekend and I was once again struck by how cool and interesting Austin is. I was wondering if anyone knows how Austin came to be this way. Why does Austin have so many preserved buildings, establishments, parks, and a thriving creative culture, while many other cities in Texas seem to be much worse on these fronts. Why is this?
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Old 05-31-2010, 07:06 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
16,251 posts, read 22,156,849 times
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Because we're weird, and we like it that way.
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Old 05-31-2010, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,091 posts, read 1,207,869 times
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Let me offer some suggestions that may answer some of that question you asked. There is a recent book about the development of Austin as an environmental city by St. Edward's environmental science professor William Scott Swearingen, Jr called "Environmental City", about the notion of Austin's progressive community growth based upon early city prevervationist policies building upon and fostering other civic movements, as a Stateman article puts it "one building block" at a time.

Amazon.com: Environmental City: People, Place, Politics, and the Meaning of Modern Austin (9780292721814): William Scott…

I also think the large University of Texas looming large over a once small city had huge impact as well. NewGeography.com featured an essay by Joel Kotkin about Austin's secrets for economic success which incorporates how the city has taken advantage of that cool "it" status.

http://www.newgeography.com/content/...onomic-success

Also, the notion of Austin as "cool" depends alot on the people you talk to.

If you're not white, liberal, artistic, or into high tech, you may not get the same response. Aaron M. Renn's thought-provoking, controversial essay for NewGeography.com, "The White City" touches upon this subject as well.

The White City | Newgeography.com

Last edited by ImOnFiya; 05-31-2010 at 07:46 PM..
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Old 05-31-2010, 07:39 PM
 
25,170 posts, read 33,520,431 times
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I'm sorry. But how is Austin a creative culture?

I guess you've never been to San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, El Paso, and even San Angelo. They all have far superior creative cultures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CavalierXion View Post
and a thriving creative culture, while many other cities in Texas seem to be much worse on these fronts. Why is this?

Last edited by artsyguy; 05-31-2010 at 08:14 PM..
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Old 05-31-2010, 07:48 PM
 
3,143 posts, read 3,327,185 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artsyguy View Post
I'm sorry. But how is Austin a creative culture?

They have a very large homeless population.
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Old 05-31-2010, 07:56 PM
 
25,170 posts, read 33,520,431 times
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They are very colorful. No doubt about that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtoiletsmkgdflrpots View Post
They have a very large homeless population.
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Old 05-31-2010, 08:07 PM
 
25,170 posts, read 33,520,431 times
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I'm socially liberal and artistic. And I still found Austin to be too conservative and slow for my tastes. I didn't meet any far out colorful people in Austin once, except on Halloween. lol. Eeyore's birthday doesn't count since it's a total rip off of The Wicker Man movie.

So let's not mislead people into thinking Austin is San Fransisco Bay, Manhattan, or even Dallas. And I agree about the whiteness factor. When I go out partying I want to see brown, black, yellow, and white all mixed together having a great time. Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImOnFiya View Post
Also, the notion of Austin as "cool" depends alot on the people you talk to.

If you're not white, liberal, artistic, or into high tech, you may not get the same response. Aaron M. Renn's thought-provoking, controversial essay for NewGeography.com, "The White City" touches upon this subject as well.

The White City | Newgeography.com
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Old 05-31-2010, 08:15 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
6,823 posts, read 10,507,142 times
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It took decades of practice. I think a lot of it had to do with UT and the presence of the only real concentration of counter-culture in Texas back in the 60's. The transient nature of UT students and musicians meant a constant influx of new 20-somethings coming to town throughout the years -- and with them, whatever the "cool" style/culture was at the time. Those who stayed, stayed because they liked it here and mostly wanted to keep it the same. They were strongly motivated to preserve the green spaces, skip building the highways everywhere, preserve the existing festivals (and create new ones), and support local businesses and live music.

However, with the tech boom and all the people coming here for employment reasons, some of the new growth is not quite in line with those earlier values. Still, the culture is still strong in the central city -- and with places like East Austin and South Austin providing new ground for that bohemian culture to spread, you could almost say there is more "cool" in Austin now than there was 20 years ago.

I'm curious, though, what historic buildings have we preserved? Other than the capitol, of course.
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Old 05-31-2010, 08:16 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,091 posts, read 1,207,869 times
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Quote:
I didn't meet any far out colorful people in Austin once, except on Halloween. lol. So let's not mislead people into thinking Austin is San Fransisco Bay or even Dallas.
I'm sorry to be misleading. I just realized the notion of Austin being a liberal city was simply a bad dream, just like that whole season of the show Dallas with brother Bobby's 'death', was "Pam's dream"!

LOL!!

Now, Dallas is liberal? The city proper -maybe, well, on a whole, still no..Here I thought suburban Dallas was penultimate, uber-cosmopolitan Republican territory!

My God, I'm dreaming again! LMAO!!
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Old 05-31-2010, 08:19 PM
 
25,170 posts, read 33,520,431 times
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Do you even know what you are talking about? This is not the 1960s. This is 2010. And I can tell you that Austin students are like students at any other Texas university. Let's stop putting the burnt orange dictators on a pedestal.

When you say bohemian I think you mean indie rock. Which I've seen in small pockets in Austin. I personlly find music like The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spoon, The Sword, etc to be annoying crap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by atxcio View Post
It took decades of practice. I think a lot of it had to do with UT and the presence of the only real concentration of counter-culture in Texas back in the 60's. The transient nature of UT students and musicians meant a constant influx of new 20-somethings coming to town throughout the years -- and with them, whatever the "cool" style/culture was at the time. Those who stayed, stayed because they liked it here and mostly wanted to keep it the same. They were strongly motivated to preserve the green spaces, skip building the highways everywhere, preserve the existing festivals (and create new ones), and support local businesses and live music.

However, with the tech boom and all the people coming here for employment reasons, some of the new growth is not quite in line with those earlier values. Still, the culture is still strong in the central city -- and with places like East Austin and South Austin providing new ground for that bohemian culture to spread, you could almost say there is more "cool" in Austin now than there was 20 years ago.

I'm curious, though, what historic buildings have we preserved? Other than the capitol, of course.
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