Syeda Hasan | KUOW News and Information

Syeda Hasan

Syeda Hasan is a general assignment reporter for KUT News. She previously worked as a reporter at Houston Public Media covering county government, immigrant and refugee communities, homelessness and the Sandra Bland case. Her work has been heard nationally on public radio shows such as “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered” and “Marketplace.”

She got her start in public radio as an intern at KUT while earning her bachelor’s degree in journalism, with a minor in French, at the University of Texas at Austin where she served as a reporter for the Daily Texan student newspaper.

City programs that aim to improve affordability may bring down costs for some Austin residents, but for others, they could make the cost of living even higher. That’s according to a draft report released Tuesday by the city auditor’s office.

Residents of the Rainey Street neighborhood struck a deal last year with a developer looking to build new condos in the area. It agreed to conduct a comprehensive traffic study, determining what the most pressing transportation needs are and how they could be affected by new development.

When he arrives at work Monday morning, Khalid Marshall is greeted by a slate of complaints from Austin residents. Marshall is a code enforcement officer with the city, and his work specifically focuses on short-term rentals, or STRs, like those you’d find on HomeAway or Airbnb.

The City of Austin is in the process of adopting a new land development code, rules that will govern everything from parking requirements to how tall buildings can be. As the city begins rolling out the proposal, some think the information needs to be translated into more languages, making it accessible to more Austin residents.

Austin has been called the most economically segregated city in the nation. Now, the Austin City Council is taking steps to try and bring more jobs to the East Side, an area that’s historically been home to minority populations and the economically disadvantaged.

With more tourists coming to Austin each year, the city’s hotels are generating more and more revenue. Some of that funding is set aside to support Austin’s tourism industry, and as the number of guests and hotels grow, so does that pot of money. A city task force is exploring new ways to spend it.

The Capital Metro board of directors on Monday approved its Connections 2025 plan to overhaul its transit service. Cap Metro says the plan is designed to improve rider experience by creating a 24/7 transit system and expanding service.  

An increase in immigration enforcement and proposed policies from President Donald Trump may be taking a toll on businesses that rely on an immigrant workforce. Some in Austin's construction community say undocumented workers don’t feel safe reporting to work.

A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected a bid to reinstate President Trump’s travel ban. The executive order temporarily bars travel from seven majority-Muslim countries. 

Have you ever looked up at construction cranes around town and wondered why it takes so long for things to get built in Austin? Developers will quickly say the city's permitting process has a lot to do with it. Now the city is about to start a new program to hopefully speed things up, but with speed comes a new set of rules.

A few months ago, Austin launched a new recycling program. A company called Simple Recycling agreed to pick up people’s unwanted clothing and textiles right from their homes. It began distributing big green bags for residents to fill and put at their curbs, just like trash or recycling.

Immigration activists and attorneys in Travis County are bracing for the possibility of deportation raids by federal officials in the coming days. 

The City of Austin has released the much-awaited first draft of CodeNEXT, its new land development guidelines. It’s the first time in more than 30 years that these regulations have been updated.

The new code aims to address a host of issues, from offering flexibility in homes allowed in a planned neighborhood, to improving flood mitigation.

Next week, the city of Austin is set to release the first draft of CodeNEXT, a much-awaited overhaul of the land development code. These rules govern everything from parking to how neighborhoods look. But as the change rolls in, some city leaders worry Austin’s affordable housing may be at risk.

If you’ve ever tried to park in downtown Austin, you’ve probably found yourself circling the streets a few times before finding a spot. The city is exploring changes to make more parking available during peak traffic time – but that could mean cutting back on free parking hours.

Austin’s booming population continued to grow in 2016, which helped fuel another strong year for the housing market. But some analysts say the region’s home sales could begin to see a slowdown in the year ahead.

One of the biggest factors that draw people to the Central Texas region – employment – isn’t growing quite as fast as it used to. Eldon Rude, principal of 360 Real Estate Analytics, said that could signal a weaker growth in home sales for the year ahead.

From lower wages to higher interest rates for loans, minority business owners in Austin often face disproportionate challenges. But city staff are working to help those businesses find more opportunities to work with the city of Austin.

If you’re looking to buy a home in the new year, some analysts say it’s better to do it sooner than later.

Near the end of 2016, the Austin-Round Rock metro area saw a notable spike in single-family home sales. In November, sales grew almost 16 percent, compared to the same month last year. Jim Gaines, chief economist at the Texas A&M Real Estate Center, said 2016 didn’t bring the same seasonal low we typically see around the end of the year.

In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, many people have channeled their political anxiety – and elation – into social media. Some community organizers in Austin are working to help people go beyond those online platforms and get involved with the causes they care about. 

After approving a major mixed-use development called the Grove at Shoal Creek, the Austin City Council is moving forward with another big residential and commercial project planned for West Austin.

Over the summer, the Austin City Council took a hard stance on criminal background checks for taxi drivers, eventually expanding them from a statewide check to a national one. But last week, council members reversed course on that decision.

For the past few months, we’ve been reporting on the rapidly changing neighborhood around 12th and Chicon streets in East Austin as part of our On My Block project.

Today, we hear from a local restaurant owner who’s bringing a taste of his hometown of New Orleans to the neighborhood. Darold Gordon owns Big Easy Bar & Grill near the corner of 12th and Chicon streets in East Austin.

It’s no secret that development is booming in Austin and its surrounding suburbs. Just north of Austin, the city of Round Rock is working to accommodate that growth by creating its first-ever land development code.

Last week, when the contentious case for the Grove at Shoal Creek returned yet again to City Hall, City Council made welcome progress – but not quite when people expected it. Council was supposed to start its discussion at 9 a.m. But as with many high-profile zoning cases, the discussion started hours later and lasted until late at night. One resident, Frances McIntyre, took notice.


After months of discussion, and more after-hours debate and testimony at City Hall the Austin City Council is moving forward with plans for a controversial development known as the Grove at Shoal Creek.

High-end apartments have come to dominate the rental market in downtown Austin. A few years ago, those developments saw a sharp drop in occupancy as new units flooded the market, but the market seems to be on its way to stabilizing.

This month, voters elected the second woman in history to serve as Travis County sheriff. Now, the department is working to recruit more female deputies and corrections officers to its ranks.

Builders in Austin have long complained about the city’s notoriously slow permitting process. Now, the city is set to launch a new program that will offer a faster option - but it comes with some costs. 

Travis County voters are set to elect a new sheriff for the first time in 12 years.

Among the four candidates running for Travis County Sheriff, a key issue is the Priority Enforcement Program, led by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, flags people booked into the Travis County Jail who may be in the country illegally, potentially leading to their deportation.


Yet another new high-rise condo complex could be coming to the Rainey Street neighborhood. But before it breaks ground, developers and residents are working to identify the top traffic needs in the area.  

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