Two in Texas

February 2, 2012

The Westin hotel  (top) at The Domain in Austin with the sign that inspired my current Metropolis column and (bottom) a view of SOL Austin from the development’s first two-story house.

I went to Austin in October to report a story for the New York Times “Home Section” that finally, finallyran in today’s paper.  And wound up staying in an Aloft hotel in the far northwest corner of the city, part of a development called the Domain.  So I got two things out of one trip, the Times story about SOL, an architecturally ambitious green subdivision, and a Metropolis column about The Domain and how the meaning of the word “urban” is changing.

Thinking about it now, I realize that both pieces tell roughly the same story, about how American cities and our ideas about what constitutes an urban place are changing as we move deeper into the 21st Century.  Developments are beginning to appear that are convincingly of this century, as opposed to being reheated 20th century concepts of what the future was supposed to look like.