Austin’s Urban Success Threatens Its Iconic Music Venues

Nightlife and urban living — they seem to go hand in hand. But while the success of entertainment venues can draw residents to urban areas, a city made famous by its eclectic music scene is seeing pressure from new residents to quiet things down.

Austin's Liberty Lunch had to close because of a nearby development. Will the increasing residential demand threaten other downtown music venues? Photo: Austinist

Network blog The Overhead Wire says that Austin, Texas lost a favorite nightspot more than 10 years ago when an iconic club was swallowed up by development. Lately the issue is noise. Responding to complaints, the city of Austin has created a program to save music venues by providing grant funding to soundproof walls.

But The Overhead Wire says new residents shouldn’t be allowed to interfere with what makes Austin, Austin:

Ultimately the downtown area has boomed in part because of those developments but at what point do the new residents moving downtown have the ability to complain about noise that existed before their new residences?

Personally, I have no sympathy for folks that decided to move right next to a music venue that plays until 2 a.m. To me, its just like moving next to a railroad track and complaining when they want to run more trains. Ultimately I hope that Austin keeps its live music heritage. With the closing of Emo’s, I fear that more dominos will fall. We shouldn’t have to choose between a vibrant urban scene at night and a vibrant scene in the day. There should be room for both.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Transport Politic outlines the declining political fortunes of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his vision for suburban-oriented transit. Baltimore Velo says an opposition campaign is developing to two college presidents’ decision to forgo bike lanes on an important thoroughfare. And Urban Indy illustrates the lack of respect for bicycling that still exists among some city officials, even as $60 million is being invested in the “Cultural Trail” project.