While a range of views were expressed, some themes emerged strongly from these interviews:
- A sense of cautious optimism about the promise of Austin’s new 10-1 system to improve the representativeness and responsiveness of city government, tempered by concern about low or uneven levels of political participation across the city.
- A concern about socioeconomic, racial, and political divides across and within districts – the sense that the city may be far from “one Austin” – along with the hope that geographic representation can help close those divides.
- A sense that the 10-1 system should not be judged too quickly and that time will be needed to assess and perfect it, but also a sense that additional changes need to be put in place immediately to realize 10-1’s promise of creating a new relationship between the public and city government.
This report briefly explains how geographic representation came to Austin, paying particular attention to the city’s history of uneven and declining political participation and imbalanced ethnic and racial representation in city government. It then describes how Austinites from across the city view the transition to 10-1 — their hopes, concerns, and suggestions for improvement.
Read the full report and learn more about civic engagement in Austin.