Sunday, October 18, 2009

Downtown OKC 2020 on OKC Central

Well now that Steve Lackmeyer is finished putting up all of his Downtown OKC 2020 guest columns, including one from myself, I thought I'd post links to some of the important ones, which is the majority of them. The series is intended to get a perspective on how downtown should develop over the next 10 years. I'll just be starting with the most recent, ending with the oldest (that Steve posted first) so that there isn't a "most pertinent" order or anything.

1. My essay outlining how OKC can transition to being a "Tier 2" city (i.e., Denver, Charlotte, KC) and expressing some of my planning-oriented concerns regarding C2S. One of the major points that readers commented on (so I assume it was one of the better-articulated points) was the psychological benefits of fixed guideway transit opposed to any kind of bus service. The point is that you see the rails and the wires and you know the streetcar comes by, and that's a big benefit for users AND developers. You see a bus stop sign and you do your best to ignore it.

2. Blair Humphrey's long column where he largely avoids the issue of OKC specifically and outlines how the people of NYC attempted to override Robert Moses' plans to throw a bridge in Battery Park. I think the point that he's suggesting is pretty clear though. This one is so long (and well-written) that Steve debated cutting it down, but readers overwhelmingly wanted the longer version.

3. Doug Loudenback's (the best in my opinion) piece persuading the reader to "leave room in downtown for chaos and serendipity." Well put Doug. As Doug romanticizes about how downtown used to be gritty, fun, diverse, crowded, and just awesome in general, he laments how I.M. Pei took all of that out and that C2S planners aren't going to bring it back. This article is really an awesome piece and a must-read in my opinion. That's all I have to say.

4. For people wanting to know a lot about the nuts and bolts of downtown development, check out Bert Belanger's story. He largely gives his account of the development projects he has worked on, including several that failed and never materialized, and some that have, including some of the Triangle stuff. Bert Belanger is largely critical of the development that has proceded, especially development underway, and also critical of C2S. Though he does lay out 10 goals that are a lot more optimistic. A good read.

Thanks to Steve for spawning the idea, sending out the emails, and coordinating the series. Hopefully, even though not very many people participated, Steve's goals were met when he thought of the series.

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