Untangling CodeNEXT with Glasshouse Policy


You’ve surely heard of CodeNEXT, it’s Austin’s favorite new buzzword relating to the complicated initiative to revise the land development code in Austin. In order to help simplify the complexities of CodeNEXT, Glasshouse Policy worked to "gamify" regional planning, making it easier for people to learn and engage in the changing Austin community. By breaking down the technical jargon and explaining the convoluted policy terms, more individuals are able to engage in the process and conversation surrounding CodeNEXT.


Glasshouse Policy is a nonpartisan, 501(c)3 nonprofit policy organization with the mission to remove the gap between citizens and policymakers, allowing for more engaged, transparent, and collaborative communities. In their recent work, the organization has been focused on the CodeNEXT conversation.

The first few months of the Notley Fellowship has unearthed some similarities in our member’s interests, one of those being CodeNEXT and city zoning laws. Last week, the Notley Fellows and Glasshouse Policy Co-Founder, Tom Visco gathered for an engaging conversation about the creation of our nation’s initial zoning policies and how they evolved into the system we have today.

“There are a lot of things in the CodeNEXT conversation that have to be untangled,” said Tom. “The reason that I’m so passionate about how and where people should live and work is because this is the conversation about what successful living in the United States in the twenty-first century will look like. Cities are what we do, and we have to get it right.”


The evening consisted of the Fellows playing a lego-based interactive board game designed to imitate the complexities of of managing Austin’s increasing population growth. The intention of the game is to shed some light and allow for better understanding of Austin’s land development code and the potential challenges that we may face in the future.


Here are a few fun tidbits we learned throughout the night:

  • Austin is the same geographic size as New York City, with 7% of the population of New York City.

  • Austin has sprawled faster than the city of Houston over the past twenty years.

  • Its projected that 500,000 people will move to Austin by 2024.


Learn more about how to get involved with Glasshouse Policy at glasshousepolicy.org.


Thomas Visco co-founded Glasshouse Policy with Francisco Enriquez in 2014. Thomas currently serves as Policy Director of Glasshouse Policy and is responsible for policy development and client and program support.

Thomas has designed and executed grassroots organizing initiatives at the local, state, and federal levels on a variety of pro-community issues including Texas fire code reform, consumer protection, toxic chemical regulation, transportation policy, and tax reform.

Throughout his career, Thomas has managed community engagement projects, leading stakeholder mediation to implement citizen-sourced ideas at all levels of government.