Originally Posted by Boquillas
I'd argue Austin is too high. Though it has walkable neighborhoods around the university, the legend is different than the reality. Austin is a sprawling post-war sunbelt city outside of the university/cbd areas, and I would argue the CBDs of Fort Worth and San Antonio, while having fewer residents, are more human-scaled and walkable than the broad grid of Austin's downtown, which was designed at a scale thought to suit (at the time) the center of TX gov't.
Replace it with Denver, which might even be Tier 3 in many areas.
I sort of agree. At least, we don't deserve to be on there for any reason connected to our current built environment. At least not citywide, yet. Still, Austinites do love to get out and walk and enjoy their city. Even in my neighborhood which is hardly urban, there are plenty of people walking around, catching the bus and riding their bicycle for transportation. And in the areas where Austin is urban and dense, it's very urban. West Campus is one of the most urban areas of the state with one of the highest densities.
I do disagree with you that grid system layouts are less friendly to pedestrians, the logic being that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and the grid system design delivers that.
I'll say one thing. I have been viewing all building permits and site elevations lately on the city's website, and one thing I did notice is there are a ton of urban pedestrian oriented projects in the works for just about every corner of Austin (except for West Austin where growth is discouraged).