Pedestrian-Friendly Development Plans for the Pearl District: Seeking a Form-Based Code in Tulsa's Sixth Street Corridor

Tulsa, Oklahoma – On today's show, we're discussing a New Urbanist effort occurring in the City of Tulsa's Sixth Street Corridor, which is better known as the Pearl District. The Pearl District Pilot Form-Based Code is a plan that basically concerns the "forms" (or appearances, or structural aspects) of buildings --- and how these buildings relate to nearby sidewalks, streets, parking lots, driveways, etc. When a given neighborhood is able to employ form-based codes --- rather than the more commonplace zoning codes --- the residents of that neighborhood are better able to determine whether and how the area will develop or change. In other words, how the area will look and feel, and how it will grow. As reported in the Tulsa World on November 14th, 2010: "It's been more than four years since the City Council approved the Sixth Street Infill Plan. The small area plan, commonly known as the Pearl District plan, calls for creating a dense, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood like those found in urban communities. Four years later, city leaders are being asked to provide a tool that some believe would help make the district a reality --- a site-specific, form-based development code." Our two guests on StudioTulsa today are both experts on the Pearl's emerging form-based code: Duane Cuthbertson is an urban planner at the Indian Nations Council of Governments (or INCOG), and Jamie Jamieson is a private developer and longtime activist based in the Pearl District. As Cuthbertson and Jamieson tell us, the City's Metropolitan Area Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on this plan on Tuesday of next week (December 7th) at City Hall. (For a copy of the plan, or for more information, you can contact Cuthbertson at 918-584-7526.) Also on today's show, our commentator Jeff Martin distinctly remembers the landmark PBS television series known as "The Civil War," which was first aired 20 years ago . . . when Martin was ten.