In 2016, San Antonio exceeded its goal of increasing inner-loop housing construction. While certain areas of our city have improved walkability, our citywide walkscore ® has gotten worse since 2010. San Antonio has seen some progress in access to parks and green spaces, although not at the rate needed to reach the 2020 goal. Park access is the ability to reach a publicly owned park within a half-mile walk on the road network, unobstructed by freeways, rivers, fences, and other obstacles. “Parkland” includes city, county, metro, state, and federal parkland within the city limits. As part of the SA Tomorrow process, two indicators were added to the Neighborhoods Cause Area: improve digital access and decrease housing cost burden. San Antonio shows progress in increasing homes with computer and internet access since 2013, our baseline year. And while we’re seeing some progress in housing cost burden since 2010, the number remains within the margin of error.
Why is this important?
Our neighborhoods are the building blocks of San Antonio, which is why it is so important to ensure that each and every one is vibrant, livable, and above all safe. So it’s not surprising that there is such a strong relationship between neighborhoods and community safety. Effective community safety efforts provide environments where families can come together to build strong ties, a shared sense of purpose, and a unique character. Merely looking at streets as streets and housing as development opportunities misses the ways in which neighborhoods can influence the social and economic mobility of our community. Neighborhoods – if only decided by streets and development – leave out the influence our infrastructure has on education, economic, and health outcomes. About half of all vigorous, heart-healthy exercise takes place in nearby neighborhood parks (RAND Corporation, 2013). Walkable neighborhoods are linked to a decrease in obesity. Approximately doubling the proportion of neighborhood residents walking to work decreases an individual’s risk of obesity by almost 10% (American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 2008).
Cities thrive as places where people can easily interact and connect. Social connections help promote the creation of new ideas, make neighborhoods safer and stronger, and make cities work better for their residents. Safe and cohesive neighborhoods are a critical component of a unified community. With an estimated growth of over 1 million people in Bexar County by the year 2040, where we live and how we fit into the fabric of our neighborhoods can make or break the “connectedness” of our city.
A projected 1.1 million additional people are expected to make the San Antonio area home by 2040, and the City of San Antonio is taking strategic steps to make sure our community isn’t left behind—but rather strengthened—in the process. SA Tomorrow, the name for the City’s Comprehensive, Sustainability, Multimodal Transportation plans, aims to guide San Antonio toward smart growth, keep existing neighborhoods stable, and provide more choices for current and future San Antonians. Altogether, these plans seek to preserve San Antonio’s culture and uniqueness, while also creating greater opportunity for the people that live here. Read more about the plans at SATomorrow.com—and be sure to sign up for updates. There’s a lot happening in our city and, best of all, the City of San Antonio wants you to be a part of it.