Economic Development

Our guest today on ST is Bill Leighty, executive director of the Smart Growth Tulsa Coalition, which was founded in 2014 as an organization "committed to creating healthy communities that work for everyone with strong schools, shops, and local businesses, improved mobility options, and jobs that pay well." A longtime Tulsa-based realtor and businessman who's been consistently active in community and professional development, and who has served on the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission as well as the city's Transpor

We offer a chat with Donald MacDonald, a San Francisco-based architect with 40+ years of experience in architecture, planning, contract documents, and construction management. He was the major architect of the Bay Bridge's Eastern span, redesigned elements of the Golden Gate Bridge, and has designed bridges across the U.S. as well as internationally -- and he also, way back when, studied with famed architect Bruce Goff at the University of Oklahoma.

After some 18 months and a previous series of public meetings, the Tulsa City Council's Arkansas River Infrastructure Task Force now has a draft proposal for funding a series of low-water dams on the Arkansas River. The $298 million proposal calls for three new low-water dam sites as well as a rebuild of the existing Zink Low-Water Dam, a maintenance and operations fund to ensure upkeep of all these facilities, and money for levee rehabilitation. (The levees in Tulsa County have been deemed among the most at-risk in the U.S.) Our guest on ST is the chairman of this Task Force, G.T.

It's been observed by many that disparity between the rich and the poor in the U.S. is now approaching levels not seen since the Great Depression. But how did we get here? On this edition of ST, a we offer a chat with Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

From public transportation to park spaces, from educational opportunities to crime stats, from ethnic diversity to urban density, how does Tulsa measure up to other cities of its kind throughout the nation? In mid-January, the Tulsa City Council was presented with the annual Quality of Life Report for our city. This report -- per the City Council website, where you can read all of it -- is "an objective analysis of our community, compared to 20 peer cities.

On this edition of ST, we welcome Robert J. LaFortune, a former Mayor of Tulsa, and Ann Patton, a locally based writer, activist, and former journalist. Patton has a new book out, for which LaFortune wrote the Foreword; it's a collection of essays on and photos of the Arkansas River, and it's called "The Tulsa River." But to what degree is Tulsa truly a "river city"? And are the age-old questions about riverfront development in this community changing -- or else taking on new meaning -- given the eventual creation of A Gathering Place on Riverside Drive?

On this installment of ST, we welcome Paul Kent, Executive Director of Tulsa Habitat for Humanity. This cherished, local nonprofit will mark its 25th anniversary this year --- the national Habitat organization, by the way, is about a dozen or so years older --- and the Tulsa chapter is also on track to build its 300th house in our community this coming fall.

On today's StudioTulsa, we hear about Vision2, the proposal by Tulsa County to extend the Vision 2025 six-tenths-of-a-penny sales tax that is set to expire in 2017.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Teddy Cruz, the acclaimed architect and scholar --- he's an associate professor of Public Culture and Urbanism in the Visual Arts Department at the University of California, San Diego --- who will appear at a "Third Thursday" event at the Philbrook Museum of Art here in Tulsa tomorrow night (the 16th) at 6pm. A 2010 profile of Cruz that appeared in T: The New York Times Style Magazine --- in which he was named as one of "the Nifty 50: America's up-and-coming talent" --- begins like so: "Most architects live to build.

Tulsa's Kendall Whittier neighborhood, certainly the city's most diverse neighborhood, is poised for new development.