This is important. When Lisbon expanded in the 1960s the newly built-up areas were designed so that primary schools and churches were always within walking distance, as these were the centers of community. And apartment blocks had shops on the ground floor.
This is one of my favorite features of the Mueller area: the apartments do have shops on the ground floor. I actually live in a live-work unit in one of the apartments. My wife and I live upstairs, and she runs a hair salon on the ground floor below our unit. The other shops nearby include a small convenience/grocery store, a chiropractor, a shared-work space, restaurants, a small gym, etc.
The shops on the ground floor really improve the quality of the area, so I'm glad that Austin is finally pushing for more of this.
If you like the idea of HOAs, you'll love Mueller. There's tons of rules around what you can and can't do on your property. The uniformity of the place is mind-numbing. But the people who live there seem to like it a lot, so good for them, I guess. I prefer some more diversity in people and architecture.
So where are they planning to have the gun shop? After a couple years of living down there I knew which parts of town weren't ideal after dark. That's...kind of not where I'd pick to live. There's a reason demand is more out West of the City rather than East.
Mixed income housing reads nice on paper. I wish I was kidding, but I get the feeling that crime in that area might be an issue.
People hate on gentrification but Austin's worst neighborhoods (which are comparatively great) are being torn down and replaced with mid-level apartments or homes.
As well, that mock up look likes incredibly dense, which I know they said is intentional. However I would rather see a move to larger yards than smaller. And I'm sure firefighters would agree with me.
Big yards and wide streets are murder for walkability.
 second paragraph removed because I realized it was largely nonsensical.
In a former life I worked alongside several of the people instrumental in developing NFPA 13R. Part of that development was that department's development of a fire hose nozzle "with a spear at the tip". It could be jambed through the roof of a wood framed structure from the exterior and spray water into the attic space without causing flashover.
In recent years, many fire departments have focused their political efforts on requiring domestic fire sprinklers in new one and two family dwellings and the major US model code - International Residential Code - has required this in the last several editions. Multi-family dwellings have required sprinkler systems for at least a generation.
Incidentally, the approximately 3000 fire deaths in dwellings pales in comparison to fatalities from falls (or for that matter self-inflicted gunshots or automobile collissions). Falling asleep while smoking is the most prevalent cause of a fatal fire in a dwelling.
US Fire administration stats showing ~20% declines in the last decade: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/data/statistics/
Firefighters don't fight fires "Over the past 35 years, the number of fires in the United States has fallen by more than 40% while the number of career firefighters has increased by more than 40%". Shows false alarms, medical calls etc. http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2012/07/fir...
British analysis - Explaining the steep decline in the frequency of fires http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/explaining-the-steep-de...
And they all look just the same.
One of the better things Mueller does is have sidewalks on both sides of the street pretty much everywhere, while the rest of Austin is lucky to have sidewalks on one side of the street every other block.
That said like most Austin neighborhoods, you can get around inside the neighborhood on foot, but traversing between neighborhoods requires a car. Mueller is trapped by high traffic fast roads on all sides and the result is that pretty much everyone has cars.
Of course, you could also just be complaining about the idea of new development, generally, but all the new folks we keep producing are going to have to live someplace. I'm a fan of the choices they've made in Mueller so far.
As for my comment, the second image that you are greeted with by the link is a nice little diorama of the suggested plan, and sure enough there are neat little row of unique-but-not-really houses. Here, see for yourself: http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/02/12/mueller-26_wide-e...
It's very Austin. It's cute, it's quirky, it's artificial, it's done to attract people looking to move into a "hip" and "liberal" city, all without that troubling bit about socioeconomic or cultural dynamic range.
It'll make a lot of money for the developers, a lot of homes for happy white upper-middle-class folks, and probably be bulldozed in thirty years. Let's just not kid ourselves that it's anything more.
Certain homes in Mueller are income-limited (according to varying levels of affordability), while others are market rate. You can't necessarily tell from the outside which are which, so it's actually a little better than another programs for affordability.
You'd have a stronger argument with most other master-planned communities in Austin, but Mueller's property was owned by the city of Austin (the former airport), and the city council at the time set very stringent standards on the master developer.
That's not to argue that this form of interventionist urban planning is good or bad, but Mueller simply isn't a market-rate, upper middle class development.
Also, I'm not going to bite on the the Austin jab. It just strikes me as strange that every person from Houston is so insecure about their city they are constantly bashing Austin/DFW/San Antonio.