Austin’s Small Area Plan Implementation

My first experiences as a city planner was a fantastic experience I had with the City of Austin’s Planning & Development Review Department serving as their lead Implementation Planner. Here, I worked to develop systems and processes to take plan action items from words on a page to completed implemented solutions. I jokingly tell people that through this experience I “learned planning backwards”, and truthfully I’d hav it know other way. ~Justin

Small Area Plan Implementation
(with the City of Austin)

Project Involvement: 2011- 2013
Project Role: Lead Implementation Planner

 The City of Austin’s Planning & Development Review Department had a history of turning out great plans but many neighborhoods were frustrated at the lack of progress implementing their plans. Hired into a newly created lead Implementation Planner position in 2011, Justin went to work with City departments to identify why some action items were easy to implement while others languished.  He walked the neighborhoods with  residents talking about their priorities, experiences, and frustrations since the adoption of their plans.

With this information, Justin developed new systems that tracked, mapped, regularly updated, and reported the progress of small area plan actions.  He identified the need to prioritize actions and sync that prioritization process up with departmental workflow processes and the City’s annual operational and capital budget cycles. Identifying a subset of plan actions whose implementation needed to be community driven, Justin developed a Neighborhood Plan Implementation Guide that connected neighborhood groups to implementation resources.

The Neighborhood Plan Implementation Guide developed by Justin in 2013 is still being updated & maintained by the City of Austin today.

For more information on the City of Austin’s Implementation Program please visit:

Let’s build something together.