Wednesday, April 18, 2012
From the San Antonio Downtown Blog: Conservation Society opposes demolition of Institute of Texan Cultures, Wood Courthouse
"Wreckage — a[nd] lots of it — was on the minds of planners when they were crafting the master plan for HemisFair Park. For better or worse, the document calls for the demolition of the western portion of the Convention Center, and the complete leveling of the John Wood Courthouse and the Institute of Texan Cultures. The new ITC would take up residence near the northwest corner of the park.
On March 21, the San Antonio Conservation Society’s board amended its 2009 stance, and now opposes the demolition of the ITC and courthouse:
In particular we support the retention and rehabilitation of:
• The Tower of the Americas
• The Institute of Texan Cultures
• The Wood Courthouse
— Addendum to the San Antonio Conservation Society March 6, 2009 Position Paper on the HemisFair Park Master Plan"
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Our tour guides were Dr. Eliot Tretter and Dr. Fred McGhee. We benefited from their deep knowledge, including Dr. McGhee's expertise as an anthropologist and historian of public housing and Dr. Tretter's research on the history and geography of segregation and neighborhood change. They shared important insights into the history of East Austin, from its early development to the public housing, urban renewal, and planning initiatives that shaped it at the mid-twentieth century and into the recent past. Here is a link to the hefty and in-depth tour packet [pdf] provided by Dr. Tretter. This is the tour map [jpg], which shows stops along our walking route.
The tour was in conjunction with the national network of tours that honor the memory of Jane Jacobs and her fight to preserve the vital neighborhoods of New York City from the ravages of planning efforts that failed to take into account the real lives of the people they claimed to help. On our tour we learned about the complex history of planning in Austin, from progressive efforts to genuinely help low income communities to blatant acts of racism and segregation.
Thank you to Dr. Eliot Tretter, Dr. Fred McGhee, Andrea Roberts (lead tour organizer), Josh Conrad (tour cartographer), and everyone who came on the tour for making this tour a success.
One of the attendees beat us to posting a blog entry. See more on Ryan Pollack's blog entry and Andrea Robert's blog.