Design, Technology, and Innovation Projects


Most people agree that Austin is the best place to live in the United States. Between Barton Springs, The University of Texas, and great queso, it’s hard to argue otherwise.

With all that love and attention comes growth. The City of Austin works to ensure safe and sustainable development through a process of permitting and building inspections. In facilitating and regulating residential projects, the city also wants to help the people who live here participate in the city’s development and realize their home projects.

To make the permitting process more accessible and cohesive, The Design, Technology, and Innovation Fellows are teaming up with the Development Services Department to rethink the ways in which the public and city work together. Here’s a look at what we’re up to with The Permitting Initiative.


We created 3 interrelated teams to approach the city’s permitting process:

The Web Resource Team works to develop intuitive digital presentation of standards and rules for the city’s permitting process. An accessible resource for customers and employees will reinforce the permitting process and establish an educational framework to move projects forward.

The Service Experience Team co-creatively designs the customer and employee experiences, as well as the business processes required for responsible delivery of the permitting service. In-Person will enact, adapt, and streamline rules and resources for real-time interactions.

The Communications Team translates collaborative processes to daily project management. By designing a workflow for permitting services, the team will establish more comprehensive and accessible internal and external correspondence.


To keep these teams on the same page, we created a shared set of principles to guide our work:

  • Accessible: Provide information in an open and welcoming manner.
  • Connective: Develop resilient relationships between parties.
  • Empowering: Promote ownership of problems and solutions by city staff.
  • Responsive: Support change and meet arising needs.
  • Spirited: Foster alignment among city departments.
  • Accountable: Share responsibility and mutual support.
  • Efficient: Facilitate a manageable experience for the public.
  • Educational: Share knowledge and promote understanding.
  • Transparent: Reveal the foundation that supports information.
  • Intuitive: Present inherently available tools and processes.