So I was attempting to do some data mining for Occupancy Austin an advocacy group focused on keeping Austin affordable by preventing lowered occupancy limits. I’ve created a github project that has the code for downloading and processing construction permits from the City of Austin’s website.

I ended up pulling residential demolitions. The results are probably not that suprising to anyone (hint: if you think someone has bulldozed a lot you’re probably right!). Here’s a fun browse-able map.

Here are my thoughts.

  • West Campus (tract 16.03) is pretty obvious. There is a lot of removal of single-family housing to make way for students. While some may dislike this, it’s really hard to argue that we shouldn’t be stuffing as many students as we possibly can in that area. This should not be an area for single-family housing. It looks like 16.03 is west of Lamar and may be part of whatever trend Allendale is part of.
  • Zilker (13.04) I find especially interesting. The northern edge and Barton Hills do not have the high number of demolitions. But the middle that has much of the very small housing (sub-1000 sq/ft) does. This would seem to correlate with three of the areas with a high concentration of demolitions – North Loop (3.05), Bouldin (13.05), and East Caesar Chavez (14). Desirable areas with homes that are half the current median home size.
  • East Riverside neighborhoods like Santa Monica Park, Sunridge, Audobon Place, and Colorado Hills are untouched. These are mostly homes that are greater than 1,500 square feet and are surrounded by duplexes, four-plexes, and apartment complexes.
  • Bouldin (13.05) has the second highest number of demolitions, despite no longer having much of a student population. I would predict that if the “stealth dorm” ordinance passes and is successful we should expect an uptick in demolitions in the North Loop area as wealthier Austinites find the area more desirable due to the lack of students.

Do you see any interesting conclusions in the data? I can generate maps back further. Is there a particular year you’d like to compare to?

5 thoughts on “Demolitions

  1. It would be interesting to link this to permits that get filed to replace the demolitions. Obviously, it might be difficult to distinguish a “stealth dorm” from that, but at least you’d know whether it was getting replaced by a larger SF structure, something else, etc.

    Also, is there another presentation format? The browsable map is only showing me yellow, blue, brown, uncolored, and no census tract labels, so I can’t follow along with your discussion below.

    1. Clicking on them should give the census tract and number of demolitions. Let me see if I can get an actual label on there.

      Linking to replacements would be interesting if only in a table that we can look at. Let me see if I can do that.

      1. Ah, thanks! The tract marked 16.03 appears to be West of Lamar. I don’t usually consider that West Campus. I usually consider West Campus 6.03 and 6.04, which haven’t had many demolitions. What time period does this cover?

          1. Yeah. I think they already ate up the low-hanging fruit in West Campus and what’s left are next to historic asphalt.

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