Their physical environments integrate the stories and markers of the city’s history into contemporary development. Their arts and cultural environments advance individual and regional creativity and expression, while offering us the larger cultural context of the world around us. In short, great cities enrich, enthuse, and invigorate their citizens through their character and culture. They introduce a high level of meaning and delight into the experience of city-living.
Once, people viewed the appearance and design of cities and their arts and cultural lives as luxuries, secondary to the real business of economic growth. But the urban experience has taught us otherwise. A city that looks good, provides opportunities that expand people’s horizons, encourages conviviality and a sense of common destiny, advances creativity, and creates happier citizens. And happy people are invariably more productive. These attributes also make cities more successful by attracting new residents, retaining existing citizens, and igniting the creativity of both. Indeed, strong commitments to community design and arts and culture efforts are fundamentally investments in the economy of the city.
Oklahoma City has recognized these lessons over the years. Its long tradition of building great community places and supporting its arts, historical, cultural institutions attests to a long commitment to enriching the lives of citizens. More recently, the achievements of MAPS such as the restoration of the Civic Center Music Hall, and supporting community investments like the Myriad Gardens redesign and the development of the new Oklahoma City Museum of Art accelerated this commitment.
Today, Oklahoma City’s appearance and cultural features have become distinct assets to the city and its image. Our challenge is to maintain and enhance those assets wherever possible as we continue to grow and develop.
enrichokc is the preservation, appearance, and culture element of planokc. This element identifies initiatives and policies that will express and promote Oklahoma City’s identity through its built environment and cultural opportunities. It considers the past development patterns of Oklahoma City and, in some cases, the loss of its traditional character. But our vision looks forward. It lies in recognizing the benefits of preserving our most significant natural and historical resources, creating attractive and rewarding communities, and building on the foundations or our stories, our arts, and our cultural assets. Defining this vision and its initiatives requires discussing several issues, including conservation of the built environment, the urban landscape, heritage preservation, the design of both existing and new urban environments, and the continued growth and enhancement of our cultural resources. Many of the land use directions of sustainokc, the transportation policies of connectokc, the environmental policies of greenokc, and other elements relate to the concepts discussed in this vision of using city character, design, arts, and culture to enrich the lives of our residents.