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Austin’s Mueller Neighborhood Uses SITES Certification to Bolster Their Community

Brandon Huttenlocher/Design Workshop

SITES is a comprehensive rating system for creating sustainable and resilient land development projects. One of many SITES projects that deserves recognition is Mary Elizabeth Branch Park, located in the Mueller neighborhood of Austin, Texas. Mueller was designed to replace a former airport site with a sustainable, mixed-use, and mixed-income addition to the city. As of mid-2021, Mueller is home to 21 LEED certified buildings with more planned, along with their overarching LEED for Neighborhood Development Gold certification.

But they didn’t stop there. The design team pursued SITES certification to improve the resilience of their own Mary Elizabeth Branch Park after seeing the benefits of LEED certification on their buildings. The numerous synergies between LEED ND and SITES made the adoption of the new rating system run more smoothly. The park has something for everyone: a playground, waterscape, dog run, volleyball courts, and grassy areas.

Austins Mueller neighborhood  

Image credit: Brandon Huttenlocher/Design Workshop

“Applying SITES strategies to the project had a direct impact on the design and distribution of program elements,” explained Claire Hempel of Design Workshop, the team hired by Catellus to complete the park. “Branch Park has created nature where there once was none. Over 200 trees were planted on a 3.5-acre park site that was a former airport runway. The introduction of trees, plants and places for people promotes physical activity, restorative experiences and social interaction.”

This cleverly designed park is a microcosm of Mueller’s overarching mission: one that works with the natural environment rather than against it, providing a safe, healthy, and sustainable neighborhood to call home. Read the full article.  

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