The Texas Hill Country: An Introduction
There is a little place in Texas called The Hill Country.
It’s roughly 11,378,000 acres – yes, eleven million.
I suppose that is not so little.
That is a big chunk of Texas’ land.
The Hill Country is prosperous and beautiful.
The night sky shines brighter here than in most other places in our country.
Its water is life for those in the cities settled amidst and below.
We – you and me – must give The Hill Country attention and love.
That is, if it means something to you.
Overland Partners had the fortunate opportunity to host the Hill Country Alliance in our studio space for a Friday long brainstorming charette back in December of 2013.
– “The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to raise public awareness and build community support around the need to preserve the natural resources and heritage of the Central Texas Hill Country.” –http://www.hillcountryalliance.org/HCA/Home
When you hear the statistic – that the current population of 3.1 million in the Texas Hill Country is now projected to climb to at least 4.3 million by 2030 – activism propels. Passionate people begin creating a platform for responsible growth and prosperity for the Hill Country region. This region includes 17 counties, 4 groundwater management districts, and 4 river authorities – not a very small undertaking.
On this December day twelve of us gathered as like-minded enthusiasts for the preservation and conservation of the Hill Country. Christy Muse, Executive Director for the HCA, and Bob Shemwell from the Overland team led the open-discussion and pushed the agenda forward on how Overland could play a role by using their design expertise and energy. Issues regarding water resources, land conservation and stewardship, legislature regulation, planning and development, scenic beauty, transportation, and future generations were all discussed. After understanding more of what the Hill Country Alliance stands for and advocates for, we could visualize Overland’s role in a more tangible way.
– “The Hill Country Alliance promotes responsible and planned growth in a region under tremendous pressure to urbanize. We are neighbors who work cooperatively with landowners, ranchers, developers, conservationists and elected officials to preserve the water quality, water supply and natural beauty of our community. We believe a strong economic future for this region depends on our ability to direct growth in a way that conserves the very resources that make the Texas Hill Country such a desirable place to live. We encourage an open, fair and public process where citizens, neighborhoods and landowners participate in key decisions that will determine the future of our community.” –
During our time together at Overland, exploration into various regions of North America that have dealt with sustainable strategies for growth were presented. Places like Portland, Salt Lake City, Ontario, and the Coyote Valley of California, to name a few. Researching these case studies opened up the table for creative efforts for compiling a piece of work or series of works. Through an often-used practice that kicks off our projects here at Overland, a card session brought to light important questions and potential ideas with direction.
What is this document? It will need a title
Who is our audience?
How does it work?
Who is doing the work?
What is our timeframe?
What is the format?
What other information do we still need to gather?
All of these questions followed with a series of potential solutions. Our discussion was rich and fruitful and all geared towards creating awareness and a sustainable future for the Texas Hill Country.
“The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share. It is not only a mirror of ourselves, but a focusing lens on what we can become.”
// Lady Bird Johnson, 1967 //