Austin (6th St.)
In this episode of Streets by Vice, we explore Austin’s rich and rather strange cultural history through the lens of one of its most iconic thoroughfares: 6th street. Sixth is significant in many ways; it was the breeding ground for its now renowned music scene, which when talking to experts across the city is at the core of virtually every other industry in Austin and inextricable from the city’s identity. 6th street also spans east to west across the city, the urban planning for which has major implications on the city’s diverse demography. Finally, where sixth street runs through downtown, it sits adjacent to its tech epicenter which is currently booming on a national scale.
If Austin has always had one foot firmly planted in music, the other has most certainly been in tech—since the 1950s Austin has been a notable location for the industry. The University of Texas at Austin has consistently pumped students through its engineering and computer science programs, and as a result it sits firmly at the forefront of the tech space. In contrast to a city like San Francisco, however, the money and development that has come along with the tech boom has not diminished its alternative, creative identity. Over past decades, the two worlds have managed to thrive alongside each other, often with intriguing overlap. And while the whitewashing and gentrification many Austinites take issue with may be true, what we are seeing now is an Austin that more than anything is simply growing up.