Mayor Adler discusses gentrification, segregation with University Democrats

Forrest Milburn

Austin Mayor Steve Adler spoke Wednesday evening to members of University Democrats about segregation, gentrification and his first year as mayor.

Adler, a UT alumnus, said gentrification is something that’s difficult to limit since it is affected by market forces and is “out of our control.”

“If you want to stop gentrification, then what you do is you stop people from wanting to move downtown,” Adler said. “Or you increase the supply of housing downtown so that the supply can meet the demand. Those are two really hard things to do.”

Another way to alleviate the problems associated with gentrification and racial segregation is to produce alternate high-density residential areas, such as increased housing in Riverside and the area near The Domain.

“The disparity of incomes in our community is shocking for a city that prides itself on being a progressive, democratic place,” Adler said. “My hope is that we get out in front in a way no other city has been able to do, and that requires us doing things on multiple levels.”

Since he was sworn in as mayor in January, Adler said he and the City Council have worked well together despite the ideological divides that exist on the Council with the addition of Republican councilmembers.

“We have divergent views on this council,” Adler said. “They reflect the full spectrum of views that exist in our city, so we’re not always going to agree, … but everybody is treating everybody else in a respectful way, and that makes the process fun.”

Government senior Kiefer Odell, University Democrats president, said his organization invited Adler to come talk about some of the issues in City Hall that students care about.

“I think it’s gone very well,” Odell said. “Obviously, there’s been some adjustment with the 10-1 system, and I think that’s something that I think he’s managed very well as the mayor of Austin.”

Business honors and Plan II junior Ashley Alcantara, communications director for University Democrats, said she thought the discussion was informative and beneficial to students who lack knowledge of local government issues.

“It sounds like he’s working with City Council on obviously all of the issues he’s talked about,” Alcantara said. “Some of the issues he talked about were pretty controversial and difficult to find a solution to, but I think it was really helpful to hear that they’re working on it.”