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  • Cathy O’Connor

Community visioning to draw input from citizens

I’m excited that a planning process has recently kicked off for NE Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority owns several vacant commercial and residential lots on the Eastside. We’ve been considering how these lots can be developed to bring revitalization, add value and enhance quality of life for the surrounding neighborhoods. We recently hired Open Design Collective to collaborate with Eastside residents, businesses and stakeholders to create a vision and a plan for the area south of NE 8th Street.

Last Saturday, Open Design Collective convened a tactical committee of about 30 intergenerational community members who each represent a diverse range of both professional and lived-experience backgrounds that are connected to NE OKC. These individuals expressed interest and/or were recruited for their experience and knowledge of NE OKC culture, history and lived experience, ecology, business, housing, policy and development.

The tactical committee will participate in a series of educational workshops and discussions designed to support members in learning more about the different sectors of a visioning plan for a neighborhood. At last Saturday’s meeting, Open Design helped committee members demystify misconceptions around the urban planning, design and development process. Additionally, the committee created space to address topics such as loss and historical trauma.

This spring, Open Design and the tactical committee will continue to collaborate through this series of engagement workshops to inform the final visioning plan. These educational and reflection sessions will be hosted on Saturdays from 9:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The public is encouraged to join these workshops by live stream on Facebook. These sessions will also be recorded and available on the So8th website.

· January 8 – housing, commerce and retail

· January 22 – public space, landscape and ecology

· February 5 – culture and aesthetics

· February 19 – economics and development

Visioning sessions with the broader community will be held in person and virtually on March 5 and April 16 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Learn more at or on social @so8thokc.

Participation in these events will help bring awareness about the revitalization possibilities of NE OKC and will lead to a plan for the future development of the neighborhood areas south of 8th Street. Participation also brings community members together to be decision-makers in the process of how their physical spaces are shaped, planned and designed.


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