That new Office Depot, and other bad infill

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There's an interesting discussion over in the TulsaNow forums about the new Office Depot at 15th and Lewis. It sits awkwardly in the middle of the lot, roughly where the previous structure, a Safeway / Homeland / Alps supermarket, sat, but facing north, with a small parking lot to the north and another separate lot on the south side. The old supermarket had its main entrance facing Lewis, very near the sidewalk. The Office Depot also comes up to the sidewalk, but presents passers-by with a blank wall.

The discussion led to some questions about the relatively new McDonald's at 15th and Peoria, namely, "How could they build that plain ol' McDonald's there, right on Cherry Street?" I've posted an explanation and elaborated on what Oklahoma City has done to encourage good urban infill. Specifically, I talk about OKC's urban design districts, which are overlay districts that add some restrictions while relaxing others in order that new development fits the character of historic commercial districts like 23rd Street (west of the State Capitol, home to many Asian businesses) and Capitol Hill (a neighborhood south of the river which is nowhere near the Capitol).

In researching my response, which contains links to a lot of info about Oklahoma City, I found a link to a browsable zoning map of Oklahoma City. It would be awfully nice if Tulsa had something like that available online.


CGHill said:

The zoning overlays are a bit haphazard and not entirely consistent even within the same district - interestingly, the most "Asian"-looking building in the Asian District is a new branch bank with a vaguely pagoda-esque roof - but by and large, OKC has done a pretty good job with these things, and they extend as far from the city center as, well, my house.

Joseph Wallis said:

You will never see an map browser like that at Tulsa because they are adverse to ESRI products, which is what that OKC map is.

Joseph, I thought ESRI was the gold standard for the sort of mapping work that planning and zoning departments do. Any idea what INCOG uses instead? Pen and paper?

Floyd said:

Are you holding Oklahoma City up as a model of infill development?

OKC isn't perfect in that regard, but they seem to be at least 10 years ahead of Tulsa in taking steps to encourage compatible infill. It seems to make it easier for some people to believe that a thing is possible in Tulsa if they are told that it's been done in Oklahoma City. Other cities that do a better job on infill may seem too different from Tulsa to make a realistic model for us to follow.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on December 18, 2005 10:42 PM.

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