Lou Neff Point. Image Credit:  Tomek Baginski .

Lou Neff Point. Image Credit: Tomek Baginski.

Austin, texas

Biophilic Cities Member since 2016

Austin has a long history of working to protect environmental features, such as Barton Springs and their watershed, and supporting biodiversity within and around the city. Efforts across Austin are being made to increase coordination and collaboration within the city and through leveraging of partnerships with local non-profits and institutions. As Austinites look forward to the city that will exist in 50 years, they see: nature integrated seamlessly into the city’s legal, and planning and design process; development and redevelopment that prioritizes vegetation, ecosystem function, and the human experience; and access for all Austinites to a healthy dose of daily nature.

City Contacts:
Lucia Athens, Chief Sustainability Officer
Leah Haynie, Community Information + Planning Manager


  • Austin’s Comprehensive Plan, ImagineAustin, with goal of integrating nature into the city.

  • CodeNEXT process underway to update Austin’s City Code to reflect a desire for more vegetation, continued protection of Austin’s watershed, and increased ecosystem function.

  • Alley Flat Initiative for new sustainable and affordable housing in the city.

  • The Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, jointly managed by the City of Austin, Travis County, and non-profit partners, that has provided habitat for threatened local species as well as hiking trails and conservation activities for over 20 years.

  • NeighborWoods free tree program that has expanded to include edible fruit and nut trees.

  • Connecting Children with Nature Initiative. A collaborative partnership underway with the National League of Cities and the Children & Nature Network that aims to ensure that all children have the opportunity to play, learn, and grow in nature, from city parks to the great outdoors.

  • Nature in the City: community focused, nature-based initiative


Photo Credit: Nic Lehoux

Photo Credit: Nic Lehoux

Austin’s Central Library Is an Experience in Orchestrated Delight

By Kathy Zarsky, Certified Biomimicry Specialist, LEED AP BD+C
Published June 2018 in Biophilic Cities Journal Vol. 2/Issue 1

Wonder in Architecture

Austin’s Central Library is a highly anticipated public structure sited along Shoal Creek and Lady Bird Lake on the western edge of downtown. Its climatic responsive design and use of local materials lend a timeless and iconic fit to its place amongst the many towering giants that are commonplace in the urban core. It’s a place that visitors relish and dream of frequenting, coining it “Austin’s living room.”

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