Austinites are “cautiously optimistic” for the future of the 10-1 system of geographic representation adopted by the City of Austin in 2014 to elect city council members, according to a report conducted by the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at The University of Texas at Austin and Leadership Austin.
The report, “Civic Engagement in Austin,” is based on interviews conducted as part of the 2015 Essential Class project. The Essential Class members interviewed 172 citizens located across the 10 newly formed city council districts, community leaders, former candidates and current city council members.
The interviews explored the interaction of Austinites with their communities, their thoughts about levels of engagement with city government and their hopes and concerns for the city’s new system of geographic representation. The interviews showed three strong themes associated with the new system:
- Cautious optimism about the promise of Austin’s new 10-1 system to improve representativeness and responsiveness of city government
- Concern about socioeconomic, racial and political divides across and within districts as well as the hope that geographic representation can help close those divides – the city might be far from “one Austin.”
- Belief time will be needed to assess and perfect the 10-1 system and that additional changes should be put in place immediately to realize the system’s promise of creating a new relationship between the public and city government.
Congratulations to the 2015 Essential Class on their fine work.
In addition, read the editorial from Christopher Kennedy, and Susan Nold, the director of the Annette Strauss Institute encouraging Austinites to take personal responsibility if the 10-1 system is to fulfill its intentions.
Click here to read the full report.