OKC downtown plan, seven years later

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Nick Roberts has dusted off the Downtown Oklahoma City Strategic Action Plan 2010, published in 2003 by the OKC Planning Department, and has graded his city's performance against its plan. For the most part, Roberts is not judging outcomes, but inputs -- whether city government has taken the steps it intended to take over the seven-year period. Even by that more lenient standard, Roberts finds that OKC has only accomplished a fifth of what was intended.

Because they recognized that infill development would not just magically happen on its own, they laid out a comprehensive short and medium term plan of action that was to be completed by 2010 that would ensure infill development go forward and be feasible.

"By 2010, downtown Oklahoma City is a vibrant and active urban place, a 24-hour destination for entertainment, arts and culture, an active and profitable center of business, with a variety of urban housing."

WRONG. So despite doing so well, for the most part, on achieving the neighborhood objectives, how did the city make so little progress on fundamentally changing the level of activity and availability of urban housing in downtown?

To seek the reason why downtown Oklahoma City got only a quarter of the targeted 2250 new housing units, he goes point-by-point through the plan and gives the city a grade for each. Roberts concludes:

I think we need to go back and accomplish all of these things, and I believe these will go a looooong ways towards getting Downtown back on track to where it needs to be in terms of mixed-use offerings and 24-hour activity. All of these recommendation of the Planning Department made in this study are completely spot-on. We only accomplished 20% of these goals, and time is up. It is for this reason that we have seen the addition of downtown housing in the hundreds, and not the thousands.

It's too easy to let plans sit on a shelf, never to be revisited. Making those plans available on the web makes it easier for interested citizens to compare promises to performance. But you still need someone like Nick Roberts to take the time to study the document, collect the data on actual performance, and analyze the information that was gathered. Well done, Nick.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 7, 2010 6:06 PM.

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