Austin's Secret To Success
Austin’s burgeoning as a tech market, but that’s sort of a fluke—it intended to be a manufacturing town.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler told attendees of Bisnow’s Austin hospitality event that Austin was booming in the late 1800s and built a dam to strengthen its foothold in the manufacturing world. However, the dam didn’t create enough power to operate a manufacturing facility, and within five years, it was wiped out by a significant flood. The city donated the land to the University of Texas, and ever since, Austin has relied on academic/innovation drivers.
Now, there are more startups per capita in the Texas capital than in any other city in the US, if not the world, Mayor Adler says. The city holds 7% of the Texas population but more than one-third of the state’s patents and over one-half of venture capital. It’s a city where people are willing to try and fail. Austin’s been the fastest-growing city in the US for the past five years, Mayor Adler says, and it’s doubled in population every 20 to 25 years since the 1850s. That’s made it a "catastrophic success," as the military would say—it’s growing too fast for infrastructure, and has become one of the most economically segregated cities in the country, he said.