Growth, gentrification, traffic, loss of affordability - all these things have been hot topics the past couple of years here. It seems that what is lacking is a concept of what constitutes an "Ideal" Austin. A city large enough to provide services and culture, but still distinctly small enough to feel like the city we say we are. Growth for the sake of growth, which has been going on for a couple of decades now, seems to have only one direction, and absent any consensus on when it should stop, this city could become Tokyo. I don't propose any specific policy here, although there are many to put forth, but as a STARTING POINT, let us come to an agreement of what constitutes the population of this town that we see as "Ideal." Not so small that it has no tax base or diversity, not so large that it destroys the very character we claim to have and want. I would say that we have probably hit that number already. Consider that Paris has had a stable population of between 2 and 2.5 million for nearly the past century. Consider that in 1990 Austin was roughly the same population as Atlanta, Georgia, and that now we are TWICE as populated as Atlanta. This rate of growth is not only unsustainable, it is undesirable and uncontrollable. In the past two decades Austin went from being the 25th most populous city in the US to 11th, passing San Francisco and other large metro areas. If growth continues at this pace unmitigated, we could find ourselves number 4 in a couple of decades. Compare that to cities we are often likened to, Portand or Seattle or the like. They have maintained their relative positions over the past quarter century. Both were larger than Austin in 1990 and now are significantly smaller, yet nobody is saying "Oh, poor Portland, what a catastrophe that they aren't growing." Quite the opposite. Quality of life in Portland is by several measures the highest in the country. GROWTH IS NOT ESSENTIAL. Lets establish that fact. Lets establish how big is big enough. And lets put policies in place that point us in that direction. This is a first step, but without an official policy and goal, we will never make any progress.