We will continue to create and enhance amenities such as parks, roadways, transit, cultural and recreational facilities, special districts, and gateways. The MAPS programs have generated tremendous momentum for our city, but we cannot rest on past accomplishments. Instead we must continue our efforts to create great places at neighborhood, citywide, and street levels. In the future, these amenities will include public spaces, street corridors, transit facilities, cultural and recreational attractions, special districts, and community gateways.
Connections like the Bricktown Canal connecting Bricktown and the riverfront, the SkyDance Bridge, the riverfront greenway and in the near future the modern streetcar and trails projects have been as important as individual destinations. Signature transportation corridors are also vital parts of the cityscape. To this end, the City will explore the feasibility of installing and maintaining landscaping and public art along key transportation corridors to enhance the City’s appearance, image, and sense of place. Features like gateways can mark the transition from one district to another, and help emphasize the distinctiveness of Oklahoma City’s special districts.
We will build on the success of our special districts to attract residents and businesses. Downtown, Bricktown, Midtown, the Plaza, Deep Deuce, the Paseo, Stockyards City, Automobile Alley, Heritage Hills, and others are important districts that contribute strongly to Oklahoma City’s sense of place and identity. Future districts like Core to Shore will contribute to Oklahoma City’s collection of urban places. The City will continue to invest in features that make these existing and future places centerpieces of our community by catalyzing development, increasing land use diversity, building quality of life amenities, and promoting family-friendly features.
Catalyzing development. Urban housing has proven to be a staple of downtown and urban district revitalization. Residential development not only creates a market for more local services but also creates a comfortable environment that brings other people in from around the city and region. The City will continue to guide housing development to urban districts to increase activity and support demand for new retailing. Special focuses will include Downtown and surrounding areas and the new Core to Shore neighborhood. The City should also place a priority on establishing a signature retail development or a retail/housing mixed-use development.
Diversifying land use. Increasing land use diversity in urban districts will help attract and retain visitors and support development momentum. For example, Bricktown’s first development phases concentrated on offices, bars, and restaurants. But the historic district has become more vital with nearby housing, retailing at different scales, and hospitality uses, and this type of diversification should accelerate. In special districts, City policy should attract a balance of retail, residential, employment, and recreational uses.
Investing in amenities and activities. The City can strengthen downtown’s and other districts’ senses of place and increase activity by encouraging and investing in more public plazas, public art, parks, indoor recreation facilities, and arts and cultural facilities.
Building family-friendliness. We can help attract and retain a variety of households to downtown and other urban districts by promoting and enhancing them as family-friendly places to live and play. Attention to street design, land uses (particularly around the downtown school) and public safety can help promote this image.
We will establish a place-making program. The City will establish a program to develop place-making capacity in the city and promote both the economic and quality-of-life value of place-making investments. The program will establish partnerships and provide funding on a regular basis, including attention to small, neighborhood-scaled projects.
A significant part of this program is communicating the message of Oklahoma City’s places to the outside world. This both benefits businesses directly through promotion and supports city marketing and talent recruitment efforts. The Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau are major partners in this effort.
We will designate additional special districts. The City will foster more specialized districts for large cultural or ethnic groups to promote diversity and improve perceptions of the city. For example, Capitol Hill could grow as the center of an emerging Hispanic/Latino district, with appeal to people throughout the region. New special districts would include thematic infrastructure, amenities, design, public art, and streetscape improvements. Appropriate areas should be identified for special districts, followed by preparation of plans that establish design guidelines and strategies to capitalize on cultural meaning.
Provide tools and incentives for targeted housing and neighborhood revitalization through programs such as a housing trust fund, land bank, abatement of permit and connection fees, employer assisted housing, inclusionary housing development, tax abatements, credits or deductions, abatement of permit and connection fees, and an expedited review and approval processes.
Create regulations/standards/guidelines that focus on design and/or compatibility principles which are sensitive to the surrounding urban form, especially in areas that are stable or improving and whose character is well-established. These provisions should also help ensure compatibility between lower- and higher- intensity land uses.
Establish a program to develop place-making capacity in the city. The program should promote the economic and quality-of-life benefits of place-making investments and should:
- Establish and maintain partnerships between the City, the private sector, and “place management” organizations.
- Provide funding and City staff support for “place management” organizations.
Create specialized districts for large cultural or ethnic groups to enhance the diversity and perceptions of the city. Identify appropriate areas and create master plans with urban design guidelines specialized to the cultural history on display. For example, one special district could be themed for the Hispanic/Latino community. Such a district would include associated thematic infrastructure, amenity, design, public art, and streetscape improvements.
Promote the downtown area as an attractive place to live and play for all household types, including families with children by:
- Requiring human scale site and building designs
- Focusing on pedestrian friendliness
- Adding family-friendly public amenities including parks, open space, greenways, plazas, bikeways, public art, etc.
- Limiting noise and protecting privacy
- Ensuring new buildings and sites are designed to be attractive and to enhance safety and the sense of safety.
- Encouraging employment and residential uses in close proximity
- Encouraging or requiring a percentage of condominium or apartment units to be 2 and 3 bedroom units
- Encouraging “child-friendly” development near schools and discouraging uses that could be detrimental to schools’ viability
- Instituting on-street police officers on foot or bicycle to maintain “eyes on the street” and enhance public safety and security
Attract and retain young professionals to downtown and its environs to support and enhance place-making efforts and investments.
- Explore the possibility of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce contracting with the City to facilitate and promote civic engagement and social opportunities for young professionals.
Facilitate the development of housing in the Downtown, Bricktown, and Core to Shore areas in order to increase activity levels and demand for retail and amenities.
Strengthen downtown’s sense of place and activity levels by encouraging more housing, retail, public plazas, public art, parks, indoor recreation facilities, and arts and cultural facilities.
Increase land use diversity in Bricktown to attract and retain visitors and development momentum. Specifically, encourage more retail, office, and recreational uses rather than additional bars and restaurants, so that visitors of all ages and interests will be motivated to visit and stay longer.
Encourage the use of special service districts with enhanced levels of service.
Ensure adequate funds to maintain enhanced levels of service (including staffing) in places that have been or will be designated as special districts.
Initiate an effort to create and publicize a brand and image for the city. Examples of specific outcomes include:
- Coordinate with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber to advertise the city’s quality of life to national and regional audiences during major events such as the NBA playoffs, and at other appropriate times and places, and in appropriate media.
- Overhaul of City logo (buses, police cars, streetcar)
- Overhaul of City Website
Increase tourism, publicize the city’s quality of life, and increase the city’s profile as a regional vacation destination by working with the Conventions and Visitors Bureau using the following strategies:
- Package vacations that highlight the city’s amenities and destinations.
- Conduct a tourism market study and plan to identify opportunities to increase visitation from in-state and out-of-state groups and households.
- Publicize information highlighting the city’s amenities, destinations and transportation options (e.g., Spokies, transit, walking tours, and river boat tours).
- Direct visitors (through maps, walking, biking, and river tours, and driving and streetcar routes) to Oklahoma City’s cultural and historic sites, and commercial districts.
Continue to create and enhance “big league city” amenities such as parks, public spaces, roadways, transit, cultural and recreational facilities, special districts, and gateways. Two specific possibilities for amenity enhancement include:
- Explore the feasibility of City-supported, high-quality landscaping along key transportation corridors as a means of enhancing the city’s appearance, image, and sense of place.
- Create gateways using public art features.
Create and implement small area plans for neighborhoods or districts with special strategic importance or complications related to development or redevelopment.
Identify priority areas where the City can maximize private investment by providing public infrastructure and amenities including:
- Parks, trails, sidewalks;
- Arts and cultural facilities.
Enhance Downtown Oklahoma City’s prominence by maintaining and increasing its role as the major business center, establishing it as a major urban residential center, and focusing on developing retail, office, entertainment, and arts and cultural uses.
Work to establish a critical mass of retail uses in the downtown area. A lifestyle center or mixed-use town center presents the most viable option for a major infusion of retail into downtown.