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When Green Space Leads the Way, Communities Thrive

Justin Lindabury

From prairie and native restoration to quality open space and stewardship, there are many aspects that set this master planned community apart in southeast Austin. Located just 12 minutes from downtown, Easton Park prioritizes the type of connected outdoor lifestyle for which Austin is well known — and showcases the value of multidisciplinary partnership united by a shared vision.

The process for developing the community identity was initiated in 2016 during a multi-day charette to coalesce the team around a unified vision and core design values: Connected Community, Health and Wellness, Dynamic Purpose and Conscious Consumerism.

Once completed, the community’s 1,500 acres will be a showcase of over 200 acres of ecological restoration and sustainable stormwater management with an overlay of trails and access to nature just miles from downtown Austin. The long-term goal of Easton Park is to be able to reduce stormwater runoff by 50 percent and establish large areas of native blackland prairies which were once common to Southeast Austin. The community will boast 350 acres of parks ranging from iconic community hubs to intimate neighborhood pocket parks and prairie restoration.

Although environmental responsibility, sustainability and equality for housing are certainly not unique to community design, Easton Park is challenging itself to go beyond the traditional scope to address these important societal topics. Developed by Brookfield Residential, they knew that in order to attract a diversity of residents, it was important to offer affordable for sale and for rent housing options. One of the many strategies was to create a large diversity of housing products and the ability to offer multiple square footage bands within the community to keep home prices reasonable. Currently some of the newest single-family homes are 1,200 square feet, starting at $190,000 and located in the heart of the community next to the amenity hub and nature park. In the coming years new products such as a quadplexes and attached homes will create many more options.

At the same time Brookfield felt with a large diversity of home buyers it was just as important to have amenities commonly found in high-end multifamily complexes. They succeeded with a resort style pool, jaw-dropping amenity center, a club-style fitness facility, diverse park open space, community garden, and interconnected hike and bike trails. Even more attractive than the array of amenities is the affordable housing options Easton Park has to offer.

At roughly 20 percent completion, Easton Park is becoming a successful model for community developers to replicate not only in Texas but throughout the United States. It has the potential to be a catalyst to push master planned community developers to think about not just simply integrating green space into their communities, but letting the green space strategically drive the shape that the community takes.

As construction progresses and Easton Park continues to grow, we’re excited about the potential and to watch it for years to come.