Life in Mueller’s Mixed-Use Neighborhood

I’m a relatively recent arrival to the Mueller neighborhood, but the more time I spend here, the more I come to appreciate the unique blend of livability, amenities, and proximity to downtown that the area offers, as well as the genuine sense of community I feel here.

As a renter in Austin, I’ve sometimes felt disconnected from the neighborhoods in which I live. Renters and homeowners living in the same neighborhoods do not always share the same public space or communicate regularly. Here in Mueller, though, I feel like the neighborhood itself has been designed in a way to encourage meaningful everyday interactions among residents of all backgrounds and visitors.  

The mixture of residential, retail, and office spaces in Mueller means I have an incredible array of options for entertainment and food within walking distance of my apartment, and it also ensures that there is a sense of vitality and a human presence in the neighborhood at pretty much any time of day. A typical week for me, for instance, might involve studying or working remotely at Halcyon, grabbing a beer at WhichCraft or a pastry at Quack’s, and catching a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse. The energy at the heart of Mueller and the sheer array of options of things to do immediately made an impression on me when I first visited the neighborhood.

A fundamental part of Mueller’s vibrancy and its sense of place – something around which all the life of the neighborhood revolves – is the amazing infrastructure of public parks that the neighborhood boasts. First and foremost, there is Mueller Lake Park, which is the shared gathering space of residents of all stripes and visitors alike and home to regular farmers markets and concerts. On pretty much any given evening, you’ll see parents out strolling with their children after a visit to the Thinkery, couples enjoying a quiet moment overlooking the lake, teenagers taking photos to commemorate a quinceañera or their prom, and Austinites of all ages playing sports or exercising. This focus on welcoming, well designed public spaces is echoed in the wealth of smaller parks and public squares that dot the Mueller area, as well as the extensive Mueller greenbelt trail, and it’s one of my favorite things about living here.

These sorts of enriching human interactions are all made possible by the neighborhood’s embrace of a diverse array of housing types that make it possible for Austinites of different means and backgrounds to share a life together in this community. Walking block to block in Mueller, you’ll see apartments next to modern single-family homes next to duplexes and townhouses. This diversity of housing stock and an emphasis on density contribute to a dynamic urban fabric that makes Mueller feel at once energetic yet human in scale, modern yet still unmistakably part of Austin.

There’s no reason why the rest of Austin can’t be more like Mueller if we get the current Land Development Code rewrite right. By focusing on applying the kind of density, diversity in housing, mixed-use zoning, and public amenities that I see here in Mueller in all parts of Austin, all Austin residents will be able enjoy the kinds of benefits open to the residents of Mueller today.