Abandoned school buildings can serve new purposes in communities, long after the students have left the classrooms. A school redevelopment initiative across the nation is taking closed schools, many shuttered due to aging infrastructure and changing demographics, and giving them new life. Several cities have successfully redeveloped schools. Some good examples are Kansas City, Dallas and Detroit, where multiple vacant school buildings have been redeveloped into housing for se
This weekend, a crowd of more than 20,000 people will gather in the Boathouse District for the 6th annual Stars & Stripes River Festival. The family event combines water activities and competitions, such as rowing and whitewater rafting, with food trucks, entertainment and fireworks. It is one of the Boathouse District’s biggest events of the year and a great example of Oklahoma City’s transformation. In the 1990s, the 7-mile stretch of the North Canadian River known today as
Affordable housing is a challenge, both on a national and local level. While median home value and median rent have increased significantly, average per capita income growth has been slow or stagnant. In Oklahoma City, the affordable housing crisis means that approximately one in three households have difficulty paying for housing. Oklahoma City is making strides to address the problem with three new developments that offer affordable housing options. The Commons on Classen,
This spring the Brookings Institution and the Project for Public Spaces presented the results and recommendations of an 18-month study of an innovation district. Among the recommendations was to “create a denser, more active, and better-connected mixed-use urban environment in and around the innovation district. Imagine riding a bike instead of a car to your job at the OU Health Center, or even strolling across 1-235 to grab a bite to eat at a restaurant in Automobile Alley?
I recently had the privilege of seeing three Oklahoma City visionaries honored at Downtown Oklahoma City Inc.’s Dean A. McGee awards banquet. This year’s event recognized Mark Beffort of Newmark Grubb Levy Strange Beffort; Leslie Batchelor, president of the Center for Economic Development Law; and City Manager Jim Couch. I have worked with each of the honorees for decades on multiple projects and have seen firsthand how their efforts benefit Oklahoma City. The Stanley Draper
For the past four years, Cassi Poor rides her bike to work each day and often to get around town. In those 1,460 days Poor has seen Oklahoma City make great strides to make the city a more walkable and bikeable place. “Riding to work now is a dramatically different experience than when I first started,” Poor said. “The first year I can’t believe how many people yelled and honked at me,” she recalled. “It is definitely a more positive experience.” Poor attributes the change to