April 2009 Archive

Daily Links

April 28th, 2009
  • Bates makes a pretty convincing argument as to why the legislators that voted against the Flaming Lips are not complete dopes:

    "In March, the Flaming Lips were invited to appear at a legislative session. On that occasion, bassist Michael Ivins (any relation to Molly?) wore a red T-shirt emblazoned with a large yellow hammer and sickle, the symbol of international communism, a source of offense to many of the legislators who voted no on Thursday's resolution. It should have been a source of offense to every legislator."

  • Included among the earliest documents produced by the United States Government are maps covering the geographic area of the United States as it expanded its boundaries to the west. These early published maps, created by some of America’s leading cartographers, were included in the American State Papers and the United States Congressional Serial Set, the official record of reports of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives from 1789 to present. The Oklahoma State University Library is fortunate to own the most complete paper collection of the Serial Set in Oklahoma, comprising some 8,600 volumes for the period 1803-1925.

Daily Links

April 23rd, 2009

A few interesting finds from the Oklahoman Archives

April 20th, 2009

Thought you all might enjoy a few of the more interesting maps and such found in the course of thesis research over the last 24 hours.  By the way, the filenames begin with the year_mo_day if you would like to track them down yourself.

Daily Links

April 20th, 2009
  • Thanks to Batelines.com for pointing me to this article:

    "We have found that the best engagement efforts invite the most diverse and representative group of residents possible, give them information from a variety of perspectives, and facilitate discussions in such a way that forces participants to wrestle with the issues in the same way planners, city managers, and city councils must.

    At their worst, such “participatory planning” campaigns are pre-ordained and, therefore, manipulative. Organizers can hold this control whether they’re inside government, or, like environmental groups and developers, outside of it. Explicit stakeholders, from developers to environmentalists to city officials, are most effectively engaged in the early stages, serving as an “advisory group”, helping to formulate the information packets and option sets that will be presented to the general public."

Quote of the Week

April 17th, 2009

“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.”

H.G. Wells

President Pushing For High Speed Rail Through OKC & Tulsa!

April 17th, 2009

The proposal would put Oklahoma City on a high-speed passenger rail line that would connect: San Antonio – Austin – Dallas – OKC – Tulsa. Please discuss. This is huge! Hard to even get my head around how big of an impact this would have on life along the I-35 corridor and throughout the United States.

And by the way, I like how they call the line “South Central.” I have always struggled to say where Oklahoma is…”it is erhh Southwest, but kind-of near the Midwest.” Anyway, south central works for me…of course, you should say “South Central United States” because “South Central America” is reserved for another place with a canal a little bit bigger then what we got in Bricktown, but I doubt it has as cool of website.

Speaking of Panama, here is a palindrome to enjoy on this beautiful Friday morning:


Bloomberg.com: Learning from Oklahoma City

April 15th, 2009

A nice, lengthy article at Bloomberg.com on the lessons Oklahoma City learned from the Penn Square Bank collapse and how that may have helped us avoid some of the same mistakes in this current recession:

April 15 (Bloomberg) — Oklahoma City has plenty of experience with banking crises. That’s helping it avoid most of the fallout from this one.

The 1982 failure of Penn Square Bank, based in an Oklahoma City shopping center, triggered a national crisis and a decade of economic misery for the area. So many banks went down that locals dubbed Oklahoma City “Home of the FDIC,” the federal agency that seizes insolvent institutions.

In the aftermath, the city rebuilt its economy on the basis of careful lending practices, diversified industries and debt- free public projects — the kind of approach disdained in many other parts of the country, local leaders say. Now, Oklahoma City’s unemployment rate, 5.6 percent, is the second-lowest of any U.S. metropolitan area; median home prices have increased every year since 2004, even as other Sunbelt cities are posting year-over-year declines of 30 percent or more.

“We’re growing at a nice clip; it’s very slow, very steady and very solid,” said Mayor Mick Cornett. “I will admit that when I saw what was going on in Phoenix and Las Vegas years ago, I was envious. But I call that crazy growth.”

Continue reading the full article at: Bloomberg.com

Santa Monica Ferris Wheel comes to The Waterfront

April 15th, 2009

More details released on The Humphreys Company’s (that of my big brother Grant and father Kirk) mixed-use project set to develop along the Oklahoma River.

From Steve Lackmeyer’s article in the The Oklahoman:

Humphreys said the Ferris wheel, 105 feet tall, will be the focal point of a development dubbed “The Waterfront” that over 10 years will include up to 950 homes, condominiums and apartments; 400,000 square feet of office space; 300,000 square feet of retail space; and a site for a hotel.

The Ferris wheel is being restored in Wichita, Kan., and Humphreys hopes it will be part of a first phase of development ready in time for the estimated 2012 opening of the new Interstate 40 Crosstown Expressway.

From Kelley Chambers’ article in The Journal Record:

Humphreys knew the development would have to have a special draw.

“We needed something to bring people across the river,” he said. “We wanted to create something that was a unique experience.”

He found his answer last year while looking at online auction site eBay.
The Santa Monica Ferris wheel was up for sale. Humphreys won the wheel with a bid of $132,400.

It was shipped to Wichita, where 160,000 light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, are being installed and the ride is being painted and refurbished.

Good Streets

April 14th, 2009

Good Magazine recently ran an article on streets that includes a slick interactive interface looking at street interventions.  They write:

It’s easy to forget that our streets are alterable. They weren’t set down by God on the eighth day; they were designed by human beings. Unfortunately, throughout the 20th century, most of the human beings designing our streets were traffic engineers. For the most part, they viewed the city from behind a windshield and saw the street as a problem to be solved for automobiles. The result is the American city that most of us know today: sprawling, traffic-choked, hostile to pedestrians and cyclists, dependent on a vast, never-ending flow of cheap oil, and deeply unsustainable.

Streets can and must be more than just a place for the movement and storage of private motor vehicles. The urban street of the 21st century will be a “complete street,” accommodating pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders alike. At the Livable Streets Initiative we are helping citizens re-envision streets as great public spaces. Take, for example, the busy intersection of Amsterdam Avenue and West 76th Street in Manhattan.

I like what they have to say and the dynamic presentation is really pretty cool.  The intervention they show is fine; definitely an improvement but certainly nothing special.  The truth is, a great city doesn’t need to have a bunch of exceptional streets.  A great city needs a few great streets and many, many solid streetss (like the one shown).  Anyway, hopefully we are headed toward improving OKC’s street network.  Right now the city has very few solid streets for bikes and pedestrians, and not really any great ones, but we can change that fast if we decide to make it happen.  With the reception that Speck’s recommendations have thus far received, I think this may be a real turning point for the city.

To see the rest of the Good Magazine livable street page: click here!

Sustainlane.com on Sustainability in OKC

April 13th, 2009

Sustainlane.com recently ranked Oklahoma City 49th in sustainability among major U.S. Cities, but their message remains very positive.  It seems OKC is on the cusp of making significant progress in this area, with Mayor Cornett leading initiatives tackling obesity and the possibility for MAPS 3 public transportation investment.  Here is the breakdown:

By the way, Portland, OR topped the list at #1 and Mesa, AZ came in last at #50.  For the complete article on OKC click here or check out the complete rankings.