Welcome to Smart Growth Tulsa. Whether your primary concern is improving health, building community, growing the economy, aging with dignity, creating safe spaces for kids, promoting sustainability–or all of the above–the principles of Smart Growth matter.
Why? Because the way we build our cities, streets and neighborhoods affects every aspect of our lives. It impacts our physical and mental well-being. It determines how many people, homes, jobs and businesses are allowed within a given space. It determines how much revenue we can raise and how our tax dollars are spent. It impacts our independence and mobility throughout our lives.
If this sounds like an exaggeration, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is physical activity a part of your daily life? Is it safe and convenient to walk or bike each day? Is there anywhere to go, if you don’t have a car?
- Can you choose to live near work, shopping and entertainment? What options are available within a ten-minute walk of your home?
- Are there areas where Tulsa could increase the tax base and deliver services more efficiently if we increased density? As you look around, do you see a lot of wasted space and empty parking lots?
- Can we afford to spend all our money on patching potholes, widening roads, and extending police, fire, water, sewer, and trash services to an ever larger area? Or would it be more cost effective to incentivize growth in underperforming areas where the infrastructure already exists?
- Have we made it easy to stay connected to our community, neighbors, and friends? What if we can’t drive? Is there a viable alternative for kids, seniors or those who simply prefer not to own and operate a car?
Smart Growth is about efficiency. It’s about making our cities more livable, sustainable and economically viable. But mostly, it’s about choice. It’s about the freedom to choose from a variety of options. Unlike our most recent system of use-based zoning and traffic engineering, it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” solution.
Imagine a city where physical activity is a normal part of your daily life. Where streets are safe and appealing for both pedestrians and cyclists; where rigid zoning codes don’t prevent people from living near the places where they work and shop; and where a functional transit system offers freedom from the economic burdens of car ownership. Imagine inviting parks and green space within walking distance of every home, where kids and adults can play, enjoy nature and reap the health benefits of stress-relief and community engagement. And imagine the benefits of an increased tax base, with more jobs and people helping fund quality-of-life improvements throughout the city of Tulsa.
This is not just a daydream. This is the vision of Tulsa’s future that won overwhelming support when thousands of citizens participated in PlaniTulsa to create a new Comprehensive Plan adopted for our city in 2010.
We have a long way to go. As it turns out, adopting a new Comprehensive Plan was the easy part. To achieve our vision and fulfill the promise of PlaniTulsa, it’s critical that we overcome the inertia of the status quo. We have to continue to make our voices heard. We have to advocate for the best ideas, not just the old, familiar ones.
Most importantly, we need to build an organization of people who want make Tulsa a great place for everyone. We need people who will speak up when the contrarians say “That’s impossible; that will never work here.” We need people who realize that the decisions we make today will impact Tulsa for decades to come.
Tulsa was built by people who believed that a little prairie town by a river could be transformed into one of the nation’s greatest cities. They were not timid; they did not talk about what we couldn’t do. They had big dreams and focused their energies on making those dreams come true.
We believe in Tulsa and its people. We believe that Tulsa deserves the best.
Smart Growth starts with the needs of PEOPLE and improving quality of life. The happy benefits of Smart Growth are increased efficiencies, increased economic development and increased tax revenues for the city.
It’s a win-win. Read on, learn more, and get involved! Chances are, we share many of the same goals for Tulsa. It’s time we started working together!