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Central Health @SXSW Recap

In continuing with our values of stewardship and collaboration, we jumped at the opportunity to tap into the creative energy that abounds at SXSW Interactive. With its myriad of attendees from all parts of the world with unique perspectives, we decided to hold a brainstorming session, Austin-style, to help steer our biggest undertaking so far: the redevelopment of the Central Health Brackenridge Campus.

With construction scheduled to begin next year on 14.2 acres of prime downtown real estate across from the Dell Medical Center at the University of Texas, and we need brainpower to help us realize what the future of this area will hold. We wanted to hear the ideas of SXSW Med Tech attendees to add to what we’ve gathered already from local public forums and an online open house, and so we created the Central Health Breakfast Taco Challenge; a fun, breakfast meet-up on the opening day od SXSW Interactive to gather feedback on what kinds of things people want to see on the Brackenridge Campus and in the recently announced Innovation Zone.

Three main aspects of this development were discussed: Health Innovation, Lifestyle & Placemaking, and Marketplace.

In terms of Health Innovation, attendees were almost unanimously enthusiastic about seeing communal spaces where people can get together and be healthy – i.e. a community kitchen offering cooking lessons and healthy food, yoga spaces, healthy food truck areas, and even an art space with medical art exhibits. The push for medical technology was also felt with many people suggesting space for developers and medical staff to interact, hosted hackathons, and educational events regarding the use of technology to improve health.

As for Lifestyle & Placemaking, bike trails, green spaces, jungle gyms for both adults and children, were all great ideas we received. Multi-housing options to include affordable housing also appeared as a top priority.

And finally with the Marketplace discussion, many participants stressed that this space should be welcoming to the public, healthy and eco-friendly, but also integrate the medical aspects of the Innovation Zone. One person suggested we look at Achten, Germany which has a successful market within an innovation district, and maybe even have medical professionals conducting some of the cooking and food education classes.

By the time we closed up shop, we had traded hundreds of tacos for an equal number of creative ideas, and met throngs of excited SXSW attendees with a lot of enthusiasm for the Brackenridge Campus, even if they were only visitors to Austin. Thanks to everyone who came to our Breakfast Taco Challenge and gave us their input. We look forward to more of your ideas as we move forward with this transformative process.

We still want to hear your great ideas! Follow us on Twitter and use #BrackCampus to send us your most creative, innovative ideas for the future of the property.

Visit CentralHealthCampus.net to learn more about the project.

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