Walkable Urbanism in Tulsa

29 Feb

Gen X’ers are speaking out across the nation and setting a new trend towards walkable urbanism – a place you can live, work, shop and play – all within walking distance. This trend has already hit critical mass in cities such as Washington DC., Denver, San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle, which are rated as our country’s most walkable cities. Will Tulsa follow this trend?

Tulsans have been living the so called American Dream for the past 50-60 years. The big house, gas guzzlers in the driveway and a big lawn to mow are part of the low density suburban lifestyle consumers have dictated in the past. But is the American Dream changing?

We drive to work, we drive to the grocery store, and we drive to the gym these days. The problems are becoming clearer as developments continue to rise further away from downtown. Effects of sub-urbanism have begun to take their toll on our health and environment, with driving being linked to an increased rate of obesity and greenhouse gas emissions.

Brookside (Peoria St)

With pent up demand from Gen X-ers coming into the housing scene we can shift the tide. What this new demographic wants is largely a walkable urban lifestyle. In fact, national studies suggest that 30-40% of total people want a walkable urban lifestyle, and an even larger percentage of younger generations and empty nesters.

And the best part is with Walkable Urbanism MORE=BETTER. In contrast to sub-urbanism, the more people that join this movement the better these areas become. As more people move into walkable areas more restaurants and entertainment open making these areas even more attractive and desirable.

Cherry St. (15th)

The tide is turning for Tulsa. Brookside, Cherry Street and downtown are drawing the younger generations in with the convenience of everything in one place. With revitalization of these areas underway it is apparent there is a healthy and growing demand.

Cost of housing in these areas already exceeds the city average but appreciation is not over according to national estimations. Chris Leinberger, author of The Option of Urbanism, and authority on the subject says walkable areas command between 40%-200% higher prices than suburban properties (based on $/sq. ft.) nationally. With this in mind our walkable areas are a real bargain.

Tulsa is currently subsidizing housing projects all over the city. We need focus our efforts and invest in the future, urban renewal. Stop social engineering and let the market choose. If we look to more progressive cities and learn from example we will see that the trend is arriving and we just have to embrace it.


Cherry St. (15th)

Brookside (Peoria St)


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One Response to “Walkable Urbanism in Tulsa”

  1. Allen Taylor 29. Feb, 2008 at 8:34 am #

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Allen Taylor

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