Economic Development

Our guest is Todd Cunningham, the Executive Director of Arts Alliance Tulsa, which is, per its website, "a United Arts Fund that strengthens and supports the arts for a greater Tulsa through fundraising, support services, audience development, and responsible investment and allocation of resources." Comprised of dozens of outstanding nonprofit arts groups from throughout the Tulsa area, Arts Alliance Tulsa has only been around for a couple of years now -- but its very presence highlights the important role that the arts play in our community'

How "walkable" is downtown Tulsa? And how could it be made more so? Our guest is Tom Baker, the executive director of Tulsa's Downtown Coordinating Council (or DCC). The DCC is an advisory board made up of downtown property owners, government officials, and business owners, and last month -- in cooperation with various local businesses, organizations, and individuals -- it welcomed the noted urbanist and walkability expert Jeff Speck for a presentation of his recently-completed Walkable Tulsa Study.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we speak with Evan Osnos, a staff writer at The New Yorker who's also a fellow at the Brookings Institution as well as a contributor to This American Life and Frontline. His widely acclaimed book, "Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China" -- based on the eight years he spent living in Beijing -- won the 2014 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Osnos speaks with us in detail about this book, which was called a "splendid and entertaining picture of 21st-century China" by The Wall Street Journal.

Our guest on ST is Chuck Marohn, an engineer based in Minnesota and member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He's also the founder and president of Strong Towns, a nationwide media nonprofit that, per its website, supports "a model of development that allows America's cities, towns, and neighborhoods to become financially strong and resilient. For the United States to be a prosperous country, it must have strong cities, towns, and neighborhoods.

On this edition of ST, we offer a wide-ranging chat with Bill Leighty, the executive director of Smart Growth Tulsa, which was founded in April of 2014 and incorporated as a nonprofit just recently. This organization, per its website, is "committed to policies, not politics. We seek to create healthy communities that work for everyone, with strong schools and local businesses, improved mobility options and jobs that pay well....

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we welcome Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum back to our studios. He was sworn in as Tulsa's newest mayor in December, having previously served as a member of the Tulsa City Council since 2008. (Mayor Bynum's great-great grandfather [1899-1900] and maternal grandfather [1970-1978] also served as mayors of Tulsa.) The Mayor joins us to talk about what he's accomplished in his mayoral tenure thus far as well as what he has planned for the immediate future.

Our guest today is Ken Busby, the CEO and executive director of the non-profit Route 66 Alliance, which is based here in Tulsa, and which is, per its website, "dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and enhancement of historic Route 66 -- past, present, and future." Formerly the director of the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa, Busby was asked to lead the "Mother Road"-focused organization in 2014; today, he brings us up to speed on the Route 66 Experience Museum, a large-scale development for which funds are still being raised and plans

(Note: This interview originally aired in July.) On this edition of ST, a discussion with Amy Haimerl, a professor of journalism at Michigan State University who writes about small business and urban policy for Fortune, Reuters, The New York Times, and other outlets.

What is "co-housing" -- and why has it become so popular so quickly in certain parts of the U.S.? And how is it different from assisted living, or nursing-home living, or communal living? On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with Melanie Fry and Jane Zemel, two Tulsans who are involved with the still-emerging movement to create a Tulsa Senior Co-Housing community.

On this edition of ST, a discussion with Amy Haimerl, a professor of journalism at Michigan State University who writes about small business and urban policy for Fortune, Reuters, The New York Times, and other outlets. She was previously the entrepreneurship editor at Crain's Detroit Business, where she covered the city's historic bankruptcy trial.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we speak with Corey Williams, the executive director of Sustainable Tulsa, a well-regarded local nonprofit that's been encouraging area businesses and individuals to embrace sustainability for nearly a decade. Williams tells us about her organization's "Triple Bottom Line ScoreCard," which has just completed its pilot (or developmental) phase...and which will begin its first full-year term as a Sustainable Tulsa program in the fall. The "triple bottom line," in this case, refers to People, Profit, and Planet.

So many attractive and impressive old buildings -- in downtown Tulsa and across this state -- would still be gathering dust, housing pigeons, and contributing even less economically without the Historic Tax Credit (HTC) program. Indeed, HTC projects have injected $163 million in private investment into the City of Tulsa alone since 2000. On this edition of ST, we speak in detail about the positive economic influence that historic preservation tax credits have had (and are still having) in our city and throughout the Sooner State.

Last night, at an event here in Tulsa, Preservation Oklahoma and the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture jointly announced the 2016 list of the state's Most Endangered Places. The list includes the Oklahoma State Capitol Building as well as two locations in Tulsa: the Oklahoma Iron Works Building (just northeast of downtown) and the mid-century Abundant Life Building (near 18th and Boulder). However, the ten sites on this year's list are not the only historic-preservation sites endangered in our state.

On this edition of ST, we offer a closer look at some of the economic development objectives within the Vision Tulsa proposal. For years, the north side of Tulsa has felt neglected and shortchanged when it comes to infrastructure improvements as well as efforts to provide good-paying jobs in the area. But within Vision Tulsa, there is money for a public-private partership that would create a ready and receptive environment for the next potential manufacturing or industrial employer looking at our city as an expansion site.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, an interesting conversation with Gabe Klein, an entrepreneur and urban-development advocate who was formerly the DOT director under Mayor Rahm Emanuel in Chicago, and also the Director of the District of Columbia DOT under Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. Prior to working in local government, Klein worked at a few notable start-ups, including Zipcar. On our show today, he talks about his new book, "Start-Up City: Inspiring Private and Public Entrepreneurship, Getting Projects Done, and Having Fun." About this guidebook, Ray LaHood, the former U.S.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we are talking about the Vision program, which was recently approved by the Tulsa City Council in unanimous vote, and which is now slated to appear on the April 5th ballot. Our guests are City Councilors Karen Gilbert (of District 5) and G.T. Bynum (of District 9), who both describe the Vision program in detail why also explaining why they think it's vitally important for voters to approve this program.

The recent decision by the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority to sell more than 12 acres of Helmerich Park (at 71st and Riverside in Tulsa) to a private developer is creating controversy and organized opposition. The location has been touted as a future retail site for the outdoor recreational business, REI, on land that (under the Arkansas River Corridor Master Plan) does call for some development.

On this edition of ST, we learn about World Neighbors. This OKC-based NGO, per its website, "focuses on training and educating communities to find lasting solutions to the challenges they face -- hunger, poverty, and disease -- rather than giving them food, money, or constructing buildings. Children often walk miles just for access to clean water. World Neighbors works to ease the burden of water walks by educating communities how to install wells in their villages.

On this edition of ST, we learn about the first-ever Tulsa American Film Festival, which, per its website, "showcases independent feature and short films from across the U.S., highlighting Native American films, Oklahoma-based filmmakers, local student short films, a classic Oklahoma-centric film retrospective in addition to panels and parties." The festival happens later this week, from the 15th through the 18th, with screenings at the Circle Cinema and other events at the Woody Guthrie Center and the Gilcrease Museum.

Interested in the idea of living in downtown Tulsa? Curious about all the apartment buildings and office spaces that seem to getting refurbished or constructed downtown these days? Wondering about what might be in store for a certain vacant property or unsightly parking lot within the City of Tulsa's Inner Dispersal Loop? If you've answered in the affirmative to any or all of these queries, you might want to check out the 3rd Annual Dwell in the IDL Tour, which will be presented by the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture this coming Sunday, the 4th, from noon to 5pm.

The proposals for the City of Tulsa's Vision sales-tax extension are all now in, and those proposals are many and varied. Some are, indeed, visionary; others seem fanciful. Some are familiar; others seem quite novel. All of the proposals -- there were more than 130 in total -- address perceived needs of one kind or another in our community, and taken together, they tally more than $2 billion in spending. Now comes the difficult task of narrowing down the numerous needs, goals, and desires in these proposals to a coherent set of projects that will be put before voters in April of next year.

In several ways, obviously, Tulsa -- especially downtown Tulsa -- looks and feels much different than it did ten or fifteen years ago. Or even five years ago. Developments, improvements, enhancements, and refurbishments are occuring on many fronts. But what about the mass transit system that serves this community? On today's ST, another discussion in our series of interviews with organizations aiming to acquire funding through the Vision 2025 sales tax extension.

Today's ST offers another discussion in our series of interviews with organizations aiming to acquire funding through the Vision 2025 sales tax extension for the City of Tulsa. Our guests, both members of TYPros, are two of the principals behind the much-talked-about proposal to create a Boston Avenue Multisport (or "BAM") Facility, which would exist between Boston and Cincinnati Avenues, and between 10th and 12th Streets, in downtown Tulsa: Terrell Hoagland is the Director of Sustainability for Jones Design Studio and Kenton Grant is the owner of Kenton Grant Consulting.

On this edition of ST, we offer another installment in our ongoing series of interviews with organizations vying to be included in the Vision 2025 sales tax extension for the City of Tulsa. This extension is expected to go before voters in the spring of 2016, and over the past couple of months, many area organizations (from Gilcrease Museum to the Tulsa Zoo; from Tulsa Transit to Langston University) have been presenting proposals in this regard to the Tulsa City Council. We at StudioTulsa are speaking with certain of those groups whose ideas seem especially interesting and/or feasible.

On this edition of ST, an interesting, big-ideas-driven conversation with Dr. Jim Norwine, the Regents Professor Emeritus of Geography at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Dr. Norwine is the editor of a textbook called "A World after Climate Change and Culture-Shift" from Springer Publishers. It's a collection of essays that's described like so at the Springer website: "An international team of environmental and social scientists explain two powerful current change-engines and how their effects, and our responses to them, will transform Earth and humankind into the 22nd-century....

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.

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