Thursday, December 01, 2005

The post-mortem

Nice job by everyone to pull this together on deadline. I feel like a broken record saying this over and over, but hats off to Rachel for a job well done with the Flash work. I think our package turned out well.

It looks like we have a few more hours of work ahead of us to get the package finalized ahead of the class visit from the Texan staff on Tuesday. I'd like to put this down for a couple of days - clear my head, get some other work done, etc. How does everybody feel about getting together Monday night for a final work session? We could aim for like 6:00 or so. Does that work with people's schedules?

Text for the front page

As we discussed last night, here's a general overview to our story that we can use on the intro page of our package:


They’re easy to overlook at first, but after the first one catches your eye, you can’t help but notice the others.

‘Stop gentrification now.’ ‘Yuppies off the east side.’ ‘Stop gentrifying East Austin.’

These hand-lettered signs posted on utility poles, traffic lights and stop signs protest the wave of residential construction under way in East Austin. The signs give voice to a concern of many long-time East Side residents: that the ongoing construction boom will make the neighborhood unaffordable for low-income, predominantly Latino and African American families.

Among elected officials, that concern does not fall on deaf ears. The Austin City Council and private developers have taken steps to ensure that low-income residents are not priced out of buying homes in new developments. Over the next few months, the council will examine several proposals to ensure that escalating tax burdens do not force low-income residents to sell their current homes.

With more than a dozen developments planned or in progress, highlighted by the Robort Mueller Municipal Airport Redevelopment and Capital Metro’s redevelopment plan for the Saltillo District, the City Council’s decisions will play a crucial role in determining East Austin’s future.

“The best case scenario is that we get to stay here and that we build housing and help people rehabilitate their homes,” said Susana Alamanza, co-director of People Organized in the Defense of Earth and her Resources, a nonprofit group active in east side development issues. “The worst case scenario is that we’ll no longer be able to live here.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Wrap it up

Are we getting together tonight to pull it all together? Ross said he was done at work at 8 and then we could get in the lab. Does that sound good to everyone? Also, Farran offered to help, but if we want it we better let her know ASAP so she can meet us or send emails back and forth or whatever. 615-498-9650 if you need to get a hold of me immediately.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Photo guidelines

After some expirementing the photos should be as follows:
Max height with caption = 430 pixels
Max width = 355
72 dpi
Caption should be a white box with no border, Gils Sans 11 pt font

Here is an example.

Sunday meeting

3 p.m. in the lab. Be there or be square.

Group meetings

Hi kids. Wanted to check in on the meeting schedule. Are we getting together today? Let me know what time. I have no problem meeting later this week as well. My one solid time committment is an interview for another class at 5:45 on Monday. Other than that I can be fairly flexible. Just make sure we post things on here or send out a group email so we can all be on the smae page.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

End of the line

Sorry I'm just now posting this. It's been a busy thanksgiving an dI didn't get the amount of work done that I needed. My computer memory was full and with my extra hard drive back at campus I couldn't download are you going to do.

So yes, we are meeting and this is what I need if we're going to finish this fast. Your text. The video edited as per Farran's advice. The types of photos you need with your text, or if you just have your text I can do the bext I can to match some of what we have to your text. A list of your sources or anything you want to link to for the credits section. If you want sound anywhere, like a narration some of you talked about, then we need a device to capture that.

Hopefully I should just be able to copy the pages, paste each of your text into the scroll text, put your photos into the slide show. The video may be tricky...but I do have that example to work off of, so I'm a bit confident.

I would LOVE if we could finish today. If you all can give me your parts (text, pics, video) then I could bang out the rest of it. I've still got the rest of my history part to write, I need to scan some photos for it also.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Meeting tomorrow?

Are we still planning to go up to the lab to work tomorrow? At three o'clock? And Rachel, is there anything we still need in terms of photos, etc. for the package?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Statesman story yesterday

The Statesman did an A1 feature yesterday about business development in East Austin. The focus of the story is different from ours - it focuses mainly on the changing business climate on the east side and looks at long-established, family owned places as well as some of the newer spots and how some of the older businesses are feeling pressure from rising property taxes.

It's a long story, but it's worth the read. Here's the main story, here's a sidebar story that accompanied the main piece, here's the photo gallery we ran online, and here's the accompanying video.

For some reason it cracked me up to hear the hardware store owner say 'yippies.'

Interesting comments from the small business owner with the beard about getting static from what he calls 'the first wave of gentrifiers.'

There's some overlap with our angle in the video. An encouraging sign, I guess - at least we know we're on the right track.

Mueller interview in brief

I had a pretty good interview with the David Ross, director of development for Catellus, who is handling the Mueller development. Of course he painted a glowing picture of the entire project, and though I am always wary of PRish optimism I can definately see the positive aspects of the project.

First and most importantly, this area was going to be developed no matter what. Such a massive chunk of land in a booming urban area is not going to sit untouched. The public scrutiny, meetings with neighborhood groups, and partnership with the city have resuloted in a plan that does seem to combine the best of both worlds: growth and preservation. The mixed use development will provide over 10,000 jobs once it is complete and significant tax revenue for the city. No one is actually being displaced since this is vacant land, but it does seem inevitable that higher property values may force some of neighbors out of their homes. He did highlight and expand upon the afforable living initiative. It isn't a perfect solution but it will address one aspect of gentrification.

As you can tell my thoughts are not completely cohesive yet, I still need to find my exact quotes and pull in some numbers. Also, if anyone has additional quotes on the development from their interviews (PODER maybe?), I would love to get a more varied perspective. But I think the gist of my "future" section will be this: A city is a dynamic entity. Neighborhoods inevitably change as the urban center grows and develops. But intelligent urban planning and active citizens can promote the best aspects of gentrification while still preserving some of the history and flavor of an area.

No, it won't be that cheesy when I write. It just won't be a death march either.

I aint afraid of no flash

hey guys, Thankfully being a journalism major has instilled in me the philosophy that "it will get done because it must get done", so I'm not sweating this project too much. I used my new flashy knowledge to put in the slide show at the beginning of the presentation and I plan to come to class tomorrow with a lot done. if you have any ideas for a clip of music that would suit this little opening, please tip me off. it would be nice for me if you could send at least a rough example of what you will have written on your page so that I can start matching photos for your section's slideshow to the point you're trying to make and also figure out what we are lacking so that we can try to get it before it's too late. As painful as it seems, I think we're also going to have to decide on a time to work over the holiday..I'm going to be realistic and say that both Saturday and Sunday I will be working and it would be nice if a few people could be there to help..Oh, and do have the lab key...friend. See you in class..crunch time is here and when the this project is finally over we shall all meet once again at dog and duck for beer.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


A big thanks to Rachel for the good work on the flash stuff. It's looking brill!

PODER meeting 11/15

Russ and I went to the PODER meeting on Tuesday, and what we saw and heard there was surprising in some ways. One interesting thing that a lot of citizens kept bringing up was that they get calls, sometimes harrassing calls, from developers and builders every day. Sometimes multiple times a day. The feeling among a lot of these folks is that these practices are kind of predatory.

I thought it was interesting, too, that on the east side, there's no question as to whether the changes in East Austin are good or bad. For them, it's definitely bad, and they feel that they are literally being forced out of their neighborhoods. No one who spoke celebrated the new "diversity" of the neighborhood.

One particularly poignant moment was when of the leaders of PODER spoke. She talked about the fact that some of her new neighbors, who live in the fanciest houses on her block, have come in and been condescending: calling the police about their music, complaining that they have "too many cars," chiding them for letting their children "run wild."

In fact, at the meeting, there were 3 or 4 small children darting around the room under people's feet, under tables, etc. No one seemed at all bothered by this. But that really drove home many of the speakers points. There is a definite sense of "culture clash" over gentrification among long-time residents of East Austin.