Two things will carry over from South by Southwest 2020 into SXSW 2021: the festival will remain virtual and the guests will be VIPs.
SXSW announced on Tuesday that none other than talk show host and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey herself, joined by Dr. Bruce Perry, will kick off SXSW Edu as keynote speakers. The pair will speak in a session titled "Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Bruce Perry In Conversation" at 9:30 a.m. March 9.
Joining forces at SXSW Edu, a portion of the festival that focuses on "learning and discovery for all education stakeholders," Winfrey and Perry will discuss their upcoming book, "What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing," which will be released in April.
Though Winfrey is a household name, Perry made a name for himself as a psychiatrist and expert in brain development and trauma. In addition to running the Neurosequential Network, he is also a senior fellow of the ChildTrauma Academy in Houston, Texas, and an adjunct professor at Northwestern University.
Winfrey said she experienced a fundamental shift the first time she heard Perry speak about trauma-informed education.
"I knew I wanted to learn more, study more, and share his work with as many people as I could," Winfrey said. "I look forward to our conversation at SXSW Edu with educators who understand the long-term impact of addressing trauma from this lens."SXSW Edu will be held virtually from March 9-11; you can find more information here.
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Designs for stations along Project Connect’s Blue Line were presented this week, giving a detailed look at what part of the rail system extending from downtown to the airport could look like.
The planned stations that have gotten the latest focus include Waterfront, Travis Heights and Lakeshore stations past Lady Bird Lake.
At the Waterfront station, the preliminary design aims to prevent visual obstructions and save on costs. This is accomplished by a transit guideway that will lower from the bridge to a level station.
Heading onto East Riverside Drive, the light rail faces a curve requiring a slow down to about 10 miles per hour.
The Travis Heights station could involve relocating a pedestrian crosswalk zone at Alameda Drive to Blunn Creek. Since light rails can't effectively operate on a steep grade, this allows the transit guideway to avoid that.
From there, the rail will extend to the Norwood Park area, and though it will reach along the right-of-way zone, the park will be able to remain open.
A view of the Blue Line by Lady Bird Lake. (Project Connect)
The line involves some coordination with the Texas Department of Transportation. That's because the department is working on an intersection that will have to be built before the phasing of the section of the Blue Line involving an I-35 crossing.
When it comes to the safety of cyclists and walkers, design ideas include a pedestrian hybrid beacon by East Bouldin Creek that would provide a protected signal to cross. And for the intersection TxDOT is carrying out, Project Connect is working with them on pedestrian access across the intersection. It could involve shared use paths along the street and crossings beneath it.
This summer, the public can expect 30% of design and cost estimates to be released. Though the project was $7.1 billion when voters approved it in November 2020, the latest estimates factoring in inflation and supply chain constraints show it could ultimately be upwards of $10 billion.
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Plans for an Amazon warehouse in Round Rock—a $250 million project slated to be a large distribution center—are on hold.
This comes just after the tech giant had its worst financial quarter in seven years.
- Late last year, it announced an expansion at the Domain adding 2,000 more corporate and tech jobs.
- Amazon still owns the site in Round Rock. Plans for it are unclear.
- Early this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon is aiming to scrap warehouse space as it faces a slowdown in its e-commerce operations.
Part of that effort involves exploring the possibility of ending or renegotiating leases with outside warehouse owners. Another aspect is a plan to sublease warehouse space.
“It allows us to relieve the financial obligations associated with an existing building that no longer meets our needs,” an Amazon spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal. “Subleasing is something many established corporations do to help manage their real estate portfolio.”
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