Social feasibility assessment for establishing habitat areas using built structures in Austin, Texas

Chamberlain, Kyle Austin
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This thesis is as social feasibility assessment for establishing habitat areas using parking garages in Austin, Texas. The research does not propose a design solution, but seeks to understand key stakeholder perceptions towards the establishment of habitat areas. A constructivist epistemological approach is the foundational framework for this research, supported by literature in regenerative architecture, civic environmentalism, and urban ecology. Through interviewing multiple stakeholders on the goals, opportunities, barriers, and benefits for using built structures as habitat areas, as well as researching local governance and costs structures, the social feasibility is uncovered. In the interview process respondents brought up themes, which are categorized into two broad groups, noted as habitat and social characteristics. Species mentioned by respondents are combined within the habitat characteristics category, and the topics primarily focus on functionally suitable systems for Austin’s current, and future climate scenarios. Within the social category, the need for increased public education on the opportunities and benefits for establishing habitat areas, better coordination among habitat focused groups, and increased municipal financial supports, are the primary subjects discussed. Overall, the conclusion of this research outlines potential future research opportunities to further understand the social feasibility for establishing habitat areas, using built structures, in Austin, Texas.