Over the next four weeks, our New Texas series will examine the affordability of our cities, the dwindling supplies in our once-rich resources, the changing economic dynamics of our business and industry and, finally, how all these changes are impacting our cultural (demographic), civic and political life.
Week 1: Changing Cities--Affordability
Week 2: Dwindling Resources--Water
Week 3: Evolving Economy--Business and Industry
Week 4: Our Infinite Identity--Culture
With mixed-use skyscrapers going up by the dozen and transplants moving in by the hundreds, affordability is now a major problem in Austin. Home prices in the Capital City are the highest they've ever been, according to the Austin Board of Realtors' monthly report. Rising demand and a lack of inventory only add the the issue. The situation in San Antonio, while not quite as drastic, isn't much better.
Segregation in both cities only exacerbates the problems. According to a recent study from Martin Prosperity Institute, an academic institute at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, both Austin and San Antonio – along with Houston and Dallas – are some of the most economically, educationally and culturally segregated cities in the country.
IS TEXAS AFFORDABLE?Missed Jeff Stensland TWC News on air the past couple of weeks? He's been traveling all over the Lone Star State taking a look at affordability for an upcoming series called "New Texas." Make sure to watch "New Texas" when it starts airing April 26 on TWC News, always streaming here: http://bit.ly/186Gpqb #NewTXPosted by TWC News Austin on Monday, April 20, 2015
Texas' population is growing faster than its infrastructure can support. Fracking – the practice of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground to fracture shale rocks so they release the natural gas inside – has become a major economic driver in Texas, providing many with jobs and even bringing many to the state, but the strains it places on the state's water supply only add to the water problems.
Environmental pollution is also an issue in the Lone Star State. When it comes to toxic releases in water, Texas ranked No. 2 in 2012, according to 2014 study released by an Austin-based environmental advocacy group. According to the same study, when weighted by the toxicity of releases, the Lower Brazos River in Texas receives the most toxic discharges of any U.S. watershed.
Adding to Texas' problems is a lack of water delivery systems. In October, the San Antonio City Council unanimously voted yes to a pipeline that will pump up to 16 billion gallons of water from Burleson County to San Antonio, but not without much public disapproval. Other water pumping plans, like a controversial one to pump millions of gallons of water a day from Hays County to the rapidly growing Interstate 35 corridor, have residents worried their own water supplies will be depleted.
Texas is currently in the midst of a years-long drought. The lack of rain hurts, but it's only the start of a much larger problem. Next week, our Russell Wilde-TWC News explores the impact of the state's dwindling resources in our second week of our "New Texas" series. #NewTXPosted by TWC News San Antonio on Monday, April 27, 2015
Sprawling ranches all over the state are being sold – either whole or in pieces – to developers and new, outside money. With that comes the loss of much of Texas’ historic identity, never to return.
Fracking – the practice of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground to fracture shale rocks so they release the natural gas inside – is now a major industry in many Texas towns, but it could be in trouble as oil prices become more unstable. Some Texas towns have already experienced boom and bust, and poverty can be prevalent in places where fracking takes place, as the boom creates a divide between those who work in the industry and those who don’t.
In the cities, it’s all about incentives to bring in large, high-tech companies. In early 2014, the Austin City Council approved an incentive package of more than $600,000 to bring the health-tech company AthenaHeath to the new Seaholm development.
At the same time, many mom-and-pop shops are often left struggling to survive with the rising costs of leases and doing business.
In week four of our "New Texas" series, Alex Stockwell will examine the Lone Star State's evolving economy. Be sure to tune in Monday, May 10 as she looks at high-tech industries moving into Texas as well as the impact the health and aerospace industries are having on the state. http://bit.ly/1EjFMpU #NewTXPosted by TWC News San Antonio on Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Native Americans, Colonial Spain, the Wild West and the Deep South all come together in San Antonio. Residents can wander along the River Walk – a hub for restaurants, boutiques and entertainment – and experience the city’s rich art scene at a number of galleries and museums.
The Briscoe Western Art Museum, which takes an in-depth look at life in the west, opened nearly a year and a half ago. An aquarium opened in the city earlier this year, and a one-of-a-kind children's museum called the DoSeum is set to open this summer. With so much going on, the city snagged the No. 36 spot on The New York Times’ list of the 52 Places to Go in 2015.
Known as the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin is famous for its music scene. The city has been a launching point for the careers of many, including Stevie Ray Vaughan and Gary Clark Jr. , among many others. It plays host to a number of music festivals throughout the year, including Austin City Limits and South By Southwest.
Food is religion in Austin, with famed chefs like Paul Qui, winner of “Top Chef” season 9, and Tim Love, the official chef of the Austin City Limits Music Festival, operating restaurants in the Capital City. Prominent Tex-Mex and barbecue restaurants serve up delicious dishes daily, but brick-and-mortar businesses are only part of the fun. Food trucks with everything from donuts to Korean-Mexican hybrid cuisine draw thousands of customers every day.
The Lone Star State is also home to a bustling film business. Stringent restrictions sometimes turn filmmakers and producers off to making movies in Texas, but state lawmakers are considering including film incentives in the budget this session.
A number of film festivals, like the San Antonio Film Festival and Austin Film Festival, call the Lone Star State home. Additionally, Texas directors and Texas-made movies, most recently Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” have risen to national fame and been highly awarded.
In her "New Texas" installments, our Annette Garcia explores what a growing population is doing to music, food and culture in the Alamo City. Make sure to check it out all week long on TWC News: http://bit.ly/1EjFMpUPosted by TWC News San Antonio on Monday, May 18, 2015