Urban Infrastructure

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 StudioTulsa, as the new year gets underway, we take a look at this country's crumbling infrastructure. In doing so, we review the detailed findings of the latest "Report Card for America's Infrastructure," which is created every four years by the nonprofit American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with urban planner and professional engineer Charles Marohn, who is also the president and founder of a nonprofit called Strong Towns. This organization works to help America's towns and cities to become financially resilient and economically strong -- and as is noted at the Strong Towns website: "Enduring prosperity cannot be artificially created from the outside but must be built from within, incrementally over time.

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On this edition of ST, we speak with Jeff Stava of the George Kaiser Family Foundation. Stava is the project manager for A Gathering Place, the multimillion-dollar initiative of the Foundation that will -- after many months of planning and anticipation -- officially break ground in Tulsa near 31st Street and Riverside Drive tomorrow, Saturday the 20th, at noon, with the day's events actually beginning, come rain or shine, at 10am.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Bill Leighty, a longtime realtor in our community who's also served on the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, the City's Transportation Advisory Board, and its Land Use Task Force. Moreover, Leighty is the executive director of the Smart Growth Tulsa Coalition, which he tells us all about on today's program.

(Note: This show originally aired earlier this year.) If you're something of a daredevil, and further, if you've ever wondered what it'd be like to climb to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge --- or wander amid the catacombs beneath Paris, or maybe just take an up-close look at a "ghost station" within the far-reaching New York City subway system --- you might be a latent "urban explorer." Our guest is an active explorer of this sort; Moses Gates, who joins us by phone, is also an urban planner, a licensed New York City tour guide, and an assistant professor of demography at the Pratt Institute

On today's ST, which originally aired earlier this year, we speak with the journalist, author, and veteran urbanologist Alan Ehrenhalt, whose books include "The United States of Ambition" and "The Lost City." Ehrenhalt's latest book, "The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City," is now out in paperback. This book argues that the roles and characteristics of America's cities and suburbs are basically changing places with one another --- younger adults and affluent retirees are moving into the city, while immigrants and the less affluent are moving out to the 'burbs.

"Hidden Cities: A Memoir of Urban Exploration"

Mar 27, 2013

If you're something of a daredevil, and further, if you've ever wondered what it'd be like to climb to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge --- or wander amid the catacombs beneath Paris, or maybe just take an up-close look at a "ghost station" within the far-reaching New York City subway system --- you might be a latent "urban explorer." Our guest on ST is an active explorer of this sort; Moses Gates, who joins us by phone, is also an urban planner, a licensed New York City tour guide, and an assistant professor of demography at the Pratt Institute.

On today's ST, we speak by phone with the journalist, author, and veteran urbanologist Alan Ehrenhalt, whose books include "The United States of Ambition" and "The Lost City." Ehrenhalt's latest book, "The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City," is just out in paperback. This book argues that the roles and characteristics of America's cities and suburbs are basically changing places with one another --- younger adults and affluent retirees are moving into the city, while immigrants and the less affluent are moving out to the 'burbs.

(Note: This interview originally aired in August of this year.) The automobile thrived, of course --- in fact, it flourished --- in the 20th century. Especially in America, where entire cities were developed around the car. People bought houses, planned vacations, and chose their schools and supermarkets (and so forth) around their autos --- and we still do so today. But it seems highly unlikely that cars will have quite so great an influence on our lives (and our cities) in the 21st century. So, what's next?

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