I moved away from the North University neighborhood earlier this week and I already miss the area. I lived near the intersection of 38th and Guad in a granny flat nestled in a former church complex. The collection of buildings was converted into residences but continues to share common spaces, which creates an intimate sense of community. College students, retirees, and families live in close proximity, making the neighborhood a more open and enjoyable place. I loved this home and the surrounding neighborhood.
North University has a higher density than much of Austin and the location within central Austin allows for easy access to excellent dining options, retail, and services. Bounded by Guadalupe to the west, 38th to the north, Duval to the east, and UT Austin to the south the neighborhood is smack dab in the middle of central Austin. North University dwellers can hop on the 7 bus along Duval or any of the Guadalupe busses to reach any part of Austin they desire. Or they may stay in the area for their activities.
Residents have easy access to the retail area just north of campus along San Jacinto and the Speedway curve. Guad is a quick walk, scoot, or bike ride away and the Central Market/Park area connects North University to Lamar. The delights of Hyde Park are a quick jaunt across 38th and the Hancock HEB combines with Central Market to keep North University fueled.
One of the greatest features of North University is the abundance of green space. Adams-Hemphill Neighborhood Park, Sparky Pocket Park, Central Park, the Hancock Golf Course, and Eastwoods Neighborhood Park are all easily accessible from North University. The access to green space, retail, and services increase the quality of life for North University residents. With close proximity to so many activities residents may walk to dinner instead of hopping in a car, and along the way they may say hello to neighbors or stop in a park, adding to the sense of community in North University.
I moved to an area far away from central Austin. The houses are far apart, places to eat, shop, or find services are all a far-away along roads that make walking or biking unpleasant. There is a park, but its location within the neighborhood is not easily accessible by foot, pedal or scooter. This neighborhood is much less desirable than North University.
Austin needs more neighborhoods like North University that are dense, diverse, and close to amenities. However, the same things that make North University great force people away from the neighborhood. The central location, access to reliable transit, and proximity to activities causes the land values to rise which renders the neighborhood unaffordable to most of Austin’s population. We as Austinites must create more neighborhoods like North University and keep similar neighborhoods affordable and accessible for all.