Posts about rankings

B-cycle: Vote to Bring Bike-Sharing to Oklahoma City!

March 6th, 2009

B-cycle is an innovative new bike-sharing startup that has kicked off with a clever little promotion.  At their website, they have a short video explaining all of the benefits of bike-sharing and explaining how their system makes it work.  Then they ask the question, “Who wants it more?”  They allow you to fill in a form to add your community to the list of prospects that presumably will be on the short-list when they are ready to begin rolling out across the country.

Denver is already on the actual short-list, as their mayor announced last month that they would be installing the B-cycle system.  And the rest of current top ten of the “who wants it more” vote contains some nice places known for their progressive planning (rank/city/current votes):

  1. Fort Collins    321
  2. Boulder    62
  3. Denver    49
  4. Austin     47
  5. Louisville    46
  6. Glencoe    44
  7. Miami    33
  8. Lexington    25
  9. Warrensburg    18
  10. Chicago    17

Here is the thing, I want OKC to be on this top ten list.  It makes a statement about the city and what the people care about.  Plus, it is good publicity, on the B-cycle website it cycles (intended) through the top ten, naming each and the current number of votes.  Right now, Oklahoma City has only one vote…that is where you come in.

So go watch the video if you want, but no matter what, go vote to bring B-cycle to Oklahoma City!

Feel free to leave a comment here to let the world know you voted and spread the word on twitter, facebook, etc.  Who knows, maybe it will lead to something.  By the end of the weekend I want to be climbing up the top ten list on our way to #1!

UPDATE 3/6 at 11:27 a.m. est:

We are in the Top Ten!



Thanks to the social networking brilliance of @urbanizedokie on twitter, Oklahoma City has broken into the top ten.  I for one, think we should keep it going and cruise on up into the top 5.  To vote, just go to Bcycle.com and then click the button on the lower left that says, “I Want It More.”

As a token of my thanks, I want to encourage you to check out what @urbanizedokie has going on at Oklahoma’s Red Dirt Emporium – Bricktown’s premiere gift store!  And you might also want to take advantage of the great weather with a ride on one of Bricktown’s Water Taxis.


UPDATE 3/6 at 3:04 p.m. est:

We’re up to #2






That’s right, we’re up to #2. That puts Oklahoma City ahead of places like Boulder, Denver, Austin – a nice statement for our wonderful city. We still have some work to do if we are going to take over the top spot from Fort Collins, CO; but they are holding steady and we are still surging forward. And remember to type in “Oklahoma City”, not “OKC” or a metro suburb – it waters down the vote total! Vote early and often! Thanks!

Does Density Matter?

January 26th, 2009

These density and population statistics from citymayors.com offer some surprising results!  The top ten on the leaderboard is expected and yet still amazes.  Mumbai has 29,650 people per square kilometer!  That would mean cramming over forty people into the amount of space currently reserved for one OKC resident! I can’t imagine that density of this degree could ever lead to quality living conditions, but that doesn’t mean density is a bad thing.  Some of the world’s most liveable cities fall in a range from approx. 1,800 to 4,500 residents per square kilometer.  Also, as with most of these list, you have to pay attention to the way they measured density: this study has attempted to calculate density based on metro area – in which Oklahoma City ranks #87 world wide – as opposed to municipal area, which is an abritrary legal boundary that provides meaningless density results. So while this study took the better of the two measures up front, it does lead you to wonder what their process was for defining a metro area.

A COUPLE THINGS I THOUGHT WERE INTERESTING

  • Densest city in America is Los Angeles – also the 90th densest city in the world!
  • Oklahoma City is ranked #181 and has a density of 900 persons/sq. km – the same as Boston, MA
    • it is one of Boston’s dirty secrets that it is really a sprawling suburban city that hides behind the charm and density of a historic center constructed at least a century ago.
    • Oddly enough, Tuscon has a density of 950 persons/sq. km
  • Paris is denser than any city in America – even with restrictions that limit building heights in most parts of the city.

DENSITY OF TOP TEN MOST LIVEABLE

There definitely seems to be some correlation between an appropriate city density and the general liveable of the city.  But, there is also a major correlation between liveability and being from central Europe or Scandinavia, so the density figure has to be only one part of the equation.  Still, I would guess that Oklahoma City would great benefit by focusing on increasing density from 900 p/sqkm to 1,500 p/sqkm – resulting in a city of approximately the density of Denver, Colorado!

Rank
City / Urban area
Country
Population
Land area
(in sqKm)
Density
(people per sqKm)

1.) Copenhagen, Denmark

117
Copenhagen Denmark
1,525,000
816
1,850

2.) Munich, Germany

78
Munich Germany
1,600,000
518
3,100

3.) Tokyo, Japan

50
Tokyo/Yokohama Japan
33,200,000
6,993
4,750

4.) Zürich, Switzerland – not on the list?

5.) Helsinki, Finland

111
Helsinki Finland
1,000,000
479
2,100

6.) Vienna, Austria

71
Vienna Austria
1,550,000
453
3,400

7.) Stockholm, Sweden

93
Stockholm Sweden
1,400,000
518
2,700

8.) Vancouver, Canada

123
Vancouver Canada
1,830,000
1,120
1,650

9.) Melbourne, Australia

127
Melbourne Australia
3,162,000
2,080
1,500

10.) Paris, France

69
Paris France
9,645,000
2,723
3,550

FULL LIST OF DENSITY IN WORLD CITIES

Rank
City / Urban area
Country
Population
Land area
(in sqKm)
Density
(people per sqKm)
1
Mumbai India
14,350,000
484
29,650
2
Kolkata India
12,700,000
531
23,900
3
Karachi Pakistan
9,800,000
518
18,900
4
Lagos Nigeria
13,400,000
738
18,150
5
Shenzhen China
8,000,000
466
17,150
6
Seoul/Incheon South Korea
17,500,000
1,049
16,700
7
Taipei Taiwan
5,700,000
376
15,200
8
Chennai India
5,950,000
414
14,350
9
Bogota Colombia
7,000,000
518
13,500
10
Shanghai China
10,000,000
746
13,400
11
Lima Peru
7,000,000
596
11,750
12
Beijing China
8,614,000
748
11,500
13
Delhi India
14,300,000
1,295
11,050
14
Kinshasa Congo
5,000,000
469
10,650
15
Manila Philippines
14,750,000
1,399
10,550
16
Tehran Iran
7,250,000
686
10,550
17
Jakarta Indonesia
14,250,000
1,360
10,500
18
Tianjin China
4,750,000
453
10,500
19
Bangalore India
5,400,000
534
10,100
20
Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
4,900,000
518
9,450
21
Cairo Egypt
12,200,000
1,295
9,400
22
Baghdad Iraq
5,500,000
596
9,250
23
Shenyang China
4,200,000
453
9,250
24
Hyderabad India
5,300,000
583
9,100
25
Sao Paulo Brazil
17,700,000
1,968
9,000
26
St Petersburg Russia
5,300,000
622
8,550
27
Mexico City Mexico
17,400,000
2,072
8,400
28
Santiago Chile
5,425,000
648
8,400
29
Singapore Singapore
4,000,000
479
8,350
30
Lahore Pakistan
5,100,000
622
8,200
31
Recife Brazil
3,025,000
376
8,050
32
Istanbul Turkey
9,000,000
1,166
7,700
33
Dalian China
2,750,000
389
7,100
34
Khartoum Sudan
4,000,000
583
6,850
35
Rio de Janeiro Brazil
10,800,000
1,580
6,850
36
Monterey Mexico
3,200,000
479
6,700
37
Bangkok Thailand
6,500,000
1,010
6,450
38
Osaka/Kobe/Kyoto Japan
16,425,000
2,564
6,400
39
Guadalajara Mexico
3,500,000
596
5,900
40
Athens Greece
3,685,000
684
5,400
41
Ankara Turkey
3,100,000
583
5,300
42
Madrid Spain
4,900,000
945
5,200
43
London UK
8,278,000
1,623
5,100
44
Tel Aviv Israel
2,300,000
453
5,050
45
Sapporo Japan
2,075,000
414
5,000
46
Buenos Aires Argentina
11,200,000
2,266
4,950
47
Moscow Russia
10,500,000
2,150
4,900
48
Barcelona Spain
3,900,000
803
4,850
49
Porto Alegre Brazil
2,800,000
583
4,800
50
Tokyo/Yokohama Japan
33,200,000
6,993
4,750
51
Belo Horizonte Brazil
4,000,000
868
4,600
52
Fortaleza Brazil
2,650,000
583
4,550
53
Warsaw Poland
2,000,000
466
4,300
54
Tashkent Uzbekistan
2,200,000
531
4,150
55
Naples Italy
2,400,000
583
4,100
56
Katowice Poland
2,200,000
544
4,050
57
Leeds/Bradford UK
1,499,000
370
4,050
58
Manchester UK
2,245,000
558
4,000
59
CapeTown South Africa
2,700,000
686
3,950
60
Fukuoka Japan
2,150,000
544
3,950
61
Taichung Taiwan
2,000,000
510
3,900
62
Baku/Sumqayit Azerbaijan
2,100,000
544
3,850
63
Curitiba Brazil
2,500,000
648
3,850
64
Birmingham UK
2,284,000
600
3,800
65
Berlin Germany
3,675,000
984
3,750
66
Riyadh Saudi Arabia
4,000,000
1,101
3,650
67
Campinas Brazil
1,750,000
492
3,550
68
Jeddah Saudi Arabia
2,750,000
777
3,550
69
Paris France
9,645,000
2,723
3,550
70
Durban South Africa
2,900,000
829
3,500
71
Vienna Austria
1,550,000
453
3,400
72
Accra Ghana
1,500,000
453
3,300
73
Glasgow UK
1,200,000
368
3,250
74
Nagoya Japan
9,000,000
2,875
3,150
75
Quito Ecuador
1,500,000
479
3,150
76
Donetsk Ukraine
1,400,000
451
3,100
77
Goiania Brazil
1,475,000
479
3,100
78
Munich Germany
1,600,000
518
3,100
79
Stuttgart Germany
1,250,000
414
3,000
80
Dublin Ireland
1,075,000
365
2,950
81
Kuwait Kuwait
1,600,000
544
2,950
82
Nizhni Novgorod Russia
1,500,000
505
2,950
83
Rome Italy
2,500,000
842
2,950
84
Phnom Phen Cambodia
1,500,000
518
2,900
85
Beirut Lebanon
1,800,000
648
2,800
86
Brasilia Brazil
1,625,000
583
2,800
87
Essen/Düsseldorf Germany
7,350,000
2,642
2,800
88
Lumumbashi Congo
1,200,000
427
2,800
89
Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
4,400,000
1,606
2,750
90
Los Angeles USA
11,789,000
4,320
2,750
91
Milan Italy
4,250,000
1,554
2,750
92
Pretoria South Africa
1,850,000
673
2,750
93
Stockholm Sweden
1,400,000
518
2,700
94
Turin Italy
1,350,000
500
2,700
95
Dubai UAE
1,900,000
712
2,650
96
Porto Portugal
1,035,000
389
2,650
97
Toronto Canada
4,367,000
1,655
2,650
98
Budapest Hungary
1,800,000
702
2,550
99
Lisbon Portugal
2,250,000
881
2,550
100
Johannesburg/East Rand South Africa
6,000,000
2,396
2,500
101
Rotterdam Netherlands
1,325,000
531
2,500
102
Harare Zimbabwe
1,750,000
712
2,450
103
Cologne/Bonn Germany
1,960,000
816
2,400
104
San Francisco/Oakland USA
3,229,000
1,365
2,350
105
Frankfurt Germany
2,260,000
984
2,300
106
Hamburg Germany
1,925,000
829
2,300
107
San Jose USA
1,538,000
674
2,300
108
Arabia Saudi
1,525,000
673
2,250
109
Brussels Belgium
1,570,000
712
2,200
110
Lille France
1,050,000
474
2,200
111
Helsinki Finland
1,000,000
479
2,100
112
Port Elizabeth South Africa
900,000
427
2,100
113
Sydney Australia
3,502,000
1,687
2,100
114
New York USA
17,800,000
8,683
2,050
115
Auckland New Zealand
1,050,000
531
2,000
116
New Orleans USA
1,009,000
512
1,950
117
Copenhagen Denmark
1,525,000
816
1,850
118
Montreal. Canada
3,216,000
1,740
1,850
119
Honolulu USA
718,000
399
1,800
120
Las Vegas USA
1,314,000
741
1,750
121
Miami USA
4,919,000
2,891
1,700
122
Ottawa/Hull Canada
828,000
490
1,700
123
Vancouver Canada
1,830,000
1,120
1,650
124
Antwerp Belgium
915,000
596
1,550
125
Denver USA
1,985,000
1,292
1,550
126
Chicago USA
8,308,000
5,498
1,500
127
Melbourne Australia
3,162,000
2,080
1,500
128
Salt Lake City USA
888,000
598
1,500
129
Aachen Germany
585,000
401
1,450
130
Sacramento USA
1,393,000
956
1,450
131
Lyon France
1,349,000
954
1,400
132
Phoenix/Mesa USA
2,907,000
2,069
1,400
133
Winnipeg Canada
627,000
446
1,400
134
Adelaide Australia
1,002,000
729
1,350
135
Riverside/San Bernardino USA
1,507,000
1,136
1,350
136
Portland USA
1,583,000
1,228
1,300
137
San Diego USA
2,674,000
2,026
1,300
138
Washington USA
3,934,000
2,996
1,300
139
Calgary Canada
879,000
702
1,250
140
Nice France
889,000
721
1,250
141
San Antonio USA
1,328,000
1,056
1,250
142
Vereeniging South Africa
600,000
479
1,250
143
Concord USA
553,000
457
1,200
144
Detroit USA
3,903,000
3,267
1,200
145
El Paso USA
675,000
568
1,200
146
Perth Australia
1,177,000
964
1,200
147
Baltimore USA
2,076,000
1,768
1,150
148
Dallas/Fort Worth USA
4,146,000
3,644
1,150
149
Houston USA
3,823,000
3,355
1,150
150
Nantes France
545,000
476
1,150
151
Austin USA
902,000
824
1,100
152
Columbus USA
1,133,000
1,030
1,100
153
Gold Coast Australia
422,000
383
1,100
154
Marseille France
1,350,000
1,204
1,100
155
Philadelphia USA
5,149,000
4,661
1,100
156
Seattle USA
2,712,000
2,470
1,100
157
Albuquerque USA
598,000
580
1,050
158
Buffalo USA
977,000
950
1,050
159
Cleveland USA
1,787,000
1,676
1,050
160
Douai/Lens France
519,000
489
1,050
161
Milwaukee USA
1,309,000
1,261
1,050
162
Minneapolis/St. Paul USA
2,389,000
2,316
1,050
163
Omaha USA
627,000
586
1,050
164
Orlando USA
1,157,000
1,174
1,000
165
Tampa/St Petersburg USA
2,062,000
2,078
1,000
166
Virginia Beach USA
1,394,000
1,364
1,000
167
Brisbane Australia
1,508,000
1,603
950
168
Memphis USA
972,000
1,036
950
169
Quebec Canada
635,000
669
950
170
San Juan Puerto Rico
2,217,000
2,309
950
171
Scranton USA
385,000
411
950
172
St. Louis USA
2,078,000
2,147
950
173
Toledo USA
503,000
524
950
174
Toulouse France
761,000
808
950
175
Tucson USA
720,000
755
950
176
Boston USA
4,032,000
4,497
900
177
Colorado Springs USA
466,000
511
900
178
Edmonton Canada
782,000
850
900
179
Kansas City USA
1,362,000
1,514
900
180
Ogden USA
418,000
466
900
181
Oklahoma City USA
747,000
835
900
182
Providence USA
1,175,000
1,304
900
183
Rochester USA
694,000
764
900
184
Spokane USA
335,000
371
900
185
Wichita USA
422,000
465
900
186
Cincinnati USA
1,503,000
1,740
850
187
Dayton USA
703,000
838
850
188
Indianapolis USA
1,219,000
1,432
850
189
Jacksonville USA
882,000
1,063
850
190
Louisville USA
864,000
1,013
850
191
Syracuse USA
402,000
465
850
192
Grand Rapids USA
539,000
667
800
193
Pittsburgh USA
1,753,000
2,208
800
194
Sarasota/Bradenton USA
559,000
700
800
195
Tulsa USA
558,000
677
800
196
Albany USA
559,000
736
750
197
Allentown/Bethlehem USA
576,000
750
750
198
Bridgeport/Stamford USA
889,000
1,205
750
199
St Catharines Canada
300,000
389
750
200
Toulon France
520,000
713
750
201
Abu Dhabi UAE
550,000
777
700
202
Akron USA
570,000
797
700
203
Atlanta USA
3,500,000
5,083
700
204
Bordeaux France
754,000
1,057
700
205
Canton USA
267,000
372
700
206
Charleston USA
423,000
598
700
207
Durham USA
288,000
406
700
208
Hartford USA
852,000
1,216
700
209
Jackson USA
293,000
417
700
210
Little Rock USA
360,000
532
700
211
New Haven USA
531,000
739
700
212
Palm Bay USA
393,000
569
700
213
Richmond USA
819,000
1,131
700
214
Shreveport USA
275,000
401
700
215
South Bend USA
276,000
404
700
216
Springfield USA
574,000
800
700
217
Tours France
298,000
421
700
218
Valenciennes France
357,000
507
700
219
Youngstown USA
417,000
591
700
220
Baton Rouge USA
479,000
727
650
221
Bethune France
259,000
390
650
222
Birmingham USA
664,000
1,016
650
223
Cape Coral USA
330,000
497
650
224
Charlotte USA
759,000
1,126
650
225
Fayetteville USA
276,000
433
650
226
Harrisburg USA
363,000
540
650
227
Lancaster USA
324,000
517
650
228
McAllen USA
523,000
813
650
229
Nashville USA
750,000
1,116
650
230
Raleigh USA
542,000
828
650
231
Worcester USA
430,000
648
650
232
Columbia USA
421,000
697
600
233
Flint USA
365,000
599
600
234
Mobile USA
318,000
546
600
235
Port St Lucie USA
271,000
438
600
236
Augusta USA
336,000
600
550
237
Bonita Springs / Naples USA
221,000
389
550
238
Pensacola USA
324,000
568
550
239
Aguadilla Puerto Rico
299,000
620
500
240
Avignon France
254,000
508
500
241
Greenville USA
302,000
587
500
242
Huntsville USA
213,000
407
500
243
Poughkeepsie USA
352,000
686
500
244
Knoxville USA
420,000
879
500
245
Chattanooga USA
344,000
751
450
246
Winston/Salem USA
299,000
651
450
247
Asheville USA
222,000
536
400
248
Pau France
181,000
450
400
249
Barnstable Town USA
244,000
741
350
250
Hickory USA
188,000
546
350

OKC #2 Fattest City in America (without the P-H)

January 15th, 2009

This just in…Oklahoma City has been ranked the #2 Fattest city in America by Men’s Fitness.  That means amidst all of the dieting we have been doing, we have still managed to slide six spots in the rankings and are just a few burgers away from becoming #1.  A couple of the magazine’s comments that hit closest to home:

Basketball courts are practically nonexistent here, among the fewest per capita in our survey. There’s just one court here for every 12,162 residents; the national average is one court per 6,909 people.

Even recreational walking – about the easiest fitness activity anywhere – can’t attract participants in Oklahoma City, where people are 14 percent less likely than average to go for a walk, the 4th lowest rate of any city in our survey.

Hmm…are planning and public health related?  It appears so.  This does remind me that I need to get back to finishing the series on parks and public-space.  But until then, here is more info on the rankings…

OKLAHOMA CITY’S FITNESS REPORT CARD

  • Fitness Centers & Sport Stores: C+
  • Nutrition: F
  • Sports Participation: C+
  • TV Viewing: F+
  • Overweight/Sedentary: F
  • Junk Food: C-
  • Air Quality: B-
  • Geography: F+
  • Commute: A
  • Parks & Open Space: F+
  • City Rec Facilities: D-
  • Access to Healthcare: A-
  • Motivation: F+
  • Mayor & City Initiatives: C-
  • State Obesity Initiatives: D+

They add:

Oklahoma City lost points in our Motivation category for poor participation rates in running, biking and walking despite high air quality.

Ouch Charlie! That hurts! And a F+ in parks and open space!  That really hurts and its still hurting.

ALL THE FATTEST CITIES

So who was number one?  Miami, yeh, who would have thought.  We are fitter than Miami!  Hooray, this is great news! I mean Miami has the sun, the ocean, and salsa music…and we still dominated them.  But other than that, all of the news for OKC is pretty dismal.  Here is the complete list of fattest cities:

1. Miami, FL
2. Oklahoma City, OK
3. San Antonio, TX
4. Las Vegas, NV
5. New York, NY
6. Houston, TX
7. El Paso, TX
8. Jacksonville, FL
9. Charlotte, NC
10. Louisville-Jefferson, KY
11. Memphis, TN
12. Detroit, MI
13. Chicago, IL
14. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
15. San Jose, CA
16. Tulsa, OK
17. Baltimore, MD
18. Columbus, OH
19. Raleigh, NC
20. Philadelphia, PA
21. L.A.-Long Beach, CA
22. Phoenix-Mesa, AZ
23. Indianapolis, IN
24. San Diego, CA
25. Kansas City, MO

Obviously, Dallas and Houston are expected.  Also interesting to see Charlotte and Indianapolis, two cities we seem to want to emulate.  But maybe it has something to do with being in this part of the country…?

Perhaps.  It does seem to have some correlation, but that doesn’t mean we can’t overcome it.

AMERICA’S FITTEST CITIES

1. Salt Lake City, UT
2. Colorado Springs, CO
3. Minneapolis, MN
4. Denver, CO
5. Albuquerque, NM
6. Portland, OR
7. Honolulu, HI
8. Seattle, WA
9. Omaha, NE
10. Virginia Beach, VA
11. Milwaukee, WI
12. San Francisco, CA
13. Tucson, AZ
14. Boston, MA
15. Cleveland, OH
16. St. Louis, MO
17. Austin, TX
18. Washington, DC
19. Sacramento, CA
20. Oakland, CA
21. Atlanta, GA
22. Fresno, CA
23. Tampa, FL
24. Nashville-Davidson, TN
25. Pittsburgh, PA

Wait, why is Omaha in the top ten?  Surely we can be as fit as the people in Omaha.  I mean, we beat them in football.  Seriously though, there seems overall to be a very strong correlation between the type of urban form a city has and the fitness of its people.  Obviously there are a few anomalies that give us pause – like why is NYC on the fattest and Atlanta on the fittest – but there are a host of other factors that likely account for these discrepancies.  Variables such as climate, geography, age of population, ethnicity, and policy might all impact the fitness of a city.

Some cities are regulating eateries to help citizens make more informed, healthier eating decisions (click to enlarge).

Unfortunately, I don’t see anywhere that we got bonus points for our city-wide diet campaign, apparently the people conducting the test don’t know the inherent health benefits of Taco Bell’s fresco crunchy tacos!  There seems to be a higher priority placed on policies that affect measurable change.  So give credit to NYC for helping consumers make more informed eating decisions and for using its street infrastructure to encourage health and activity.  And to Boston for its city-wide ban on trans fat. And to Portland for their focus on providing first-class bike lane infrastructure.

As for OKC, we are talking the talk, but we are simply not walking anywhere.

For more details on the rankings, click here.

Best of imagiNATIVEamerica 2008!

December 22nd, 2008

So I will be en route to Oklahoma City tomorrow and wanted to leave you with what I think are some of the best posts from the last six months.  Thanks for reading and have a Merry Christmas!

  1. Mapping Pedestrian Friendliness in OKC
  2. This was one of my earliest posts and still my favorite. I really like Gehl’s work and it is interesting to apply it to Oklahoma City. Check it out and try to contribute to the map of pedestrian friendly places. Though I heard from someone the other day that there is not really a reason to map pedestrian-friendliness in OKC, you can just count of the places on your fingers…:)

  3. Ten Must-Haves for OKC’s Downtown Park
  4. It is fun to dream about the future of the “central park” that is being planned as part of Core 2 Shore. OKC has needed a downtown park or other place to serve as the “heart” of the city for years and it seems it is finally coming. Check out the list and add your own lists!

  5. Oklahoma City’s 1910 Plan for Grand Boulevard by W.H. Dunn
  6. OKC has a fascinating planning history that is largely unexplored. I am in the middle of researching a thesis about this history and found this great plan for OKC’s parks and boulevards.

  7. The NEW I-40 Pedestrian Bridge
  8. The bridge is beautiful! What more is there to say?

  9. Bricktown Parking: Killing Two Birds with One Streetcar
  10. Parking in Bricktown was a hot topic last summer!  I say, if we really want to solve the parking problem then we have to think outside the box and take our first steps toward a downtown transit system. In this post I layout a plan to make it happen.

  11. I Love Oklahoma!
  12. First big post and it took me forever to produce; so there is some sentimental value there.

  13. What Is the Future of Suburbia?
  14. Ideas that I enjoy discussing (keeping comment vague and general because I can’t remember exactly what I talked about).

  15. Oklahoma City Gas Counter
  16. Tells an amazing story! The steep “double black diamond” slope on the right shows both my stock portfolio, as well as my dreams for cities that encourage biking, walking, and smart urban form, come crashing down.

  17. Walkability Rankings: Oklahoma City #35
  18. I love cities that allow for walking and think Oklahoma City has plenty of room for improvement – as this walkability ranking attests. This post overviews the rankings, some of the flaws with their analysis, and discusses other issues related to walkability in Oklahoma City.

  19. Axel Peemoeller’s Funky Parking Garage
  20. This is just sweet!

BONUS: Sunrise in Boston!

I am digging this new mobile upload feature and can’t believe I scored this amazing sunrise the day after I set it up! Looking forward to many more posts on the go in 2009!

Walkability Rankings: Oklahoma City #35

July 20th, 2008

Walkscore.com has released their rankings of America’s Most Walkable Cities. My expectations for OKC on something like this are never very high, but I always hope we at least finish somewhere respectable and not in the bottom five (as the top and bottom five it seems is always what gets published). Unfortunately, by tying Memphis for 35th we barely missed escaping the bottom five and the resulting terrible publicity. I mean, can you believe we get beat by cities like Houston and Detroit?

MOST AND LEAST WALKABLE CITIES (with walkability score)
Top 5
1. San Francisco: 86
2. New York: 83
3. Boston: 79
4. Chicago: 76
5. Philadelphia: 74

Bottom 5
35. TIE – Oklahoma City and Memphis: 43
37. Indianapolis: 42
38. Charlotte: 39
39. Nashville: 39
40. Jacksonville: 36

To make matters worse, the San Francisco Chronicle let Memphis off the hook – by listing Oklahoma City alone in the bottom five with an asterisk – and then displayed the information in such an unintuitive order that Oklahoma City actually looks like it finished dead last. Check out the article and see what I mean.


ABOUT THE METHOD OF ANALYSIS

In reality, Walkscore’s method of analysis has a number of flaws – many of which I find to be fatal. To their credit, they are the first to admit these weaknesses. Here is what they have to say.

There are a number of factors that contribute to walkability that are not part of our algorithm:

  • Public transit: Good public transit is important for walkable neighborhoods.
  • Street width and block length: Narrow streets slow down traffic. Short blocks provide more routes to the same destination and make it easier to take a direct route.
  • Street design: Sidewalks and safe crossings are essential to walkability. Appropriate automobile speeds, trees, and other features also help.
  • Safety from crime and crashes: How much crime is in the neighborhood? How many traffic accidents are there? Are streets well-lit?
  • Pedestrian-friendly community design: Are buildings close to the sidewalk with parking in back? Are destinations clustered together?
  • Topography: Hills can make walking difficult, especially if you’re carrying groceries.
  • Freeways and bodies of water: Freeways can divide neighborhoods. Swimming is harder than walking
  • Weather: In some places it’s just too hot or cold to walk regularly

I bet San Francisco is glad they didn’t include topography…ehh? What all this means is that their “algorithm” simply measure’s the proximity of amenities from a given point. So anything within 1/4-mile of a mall would receive the highest rating and while it is true that malls are incredibly walkable (when you are inside), it is not true that malls create walkable neighborhoods – in fact, it is quite the opposite when surrounded by parking. This is also true of densely lined retail arterials like May Avenue. While they certainly provide access to a number of retailers and amenities within a short range of distance, very few people would actually walk from shopping center to shopping center and consider the experience enjoyable. A few better ways to measure walkability in my opinion would either attempt to include measures for the elements listed above or would simply count the number of people actually walking. Afterall, what good is “walkability” if no one walks? But what do you do if it is “bad walkability” and everyone walks? Either way, it gets very complicated very quickly for a range of issues that we can tackle at a later date.


OKLAHOMA CITY WALKABILITY

Walkscore had these interesting facts to share about walkability in Oklahoma City:

  • 8% of Oklahoma City residents have a Walk Score of 70 or above.
  • 40% have a Walk Score of at least 50
  • and 60% live in Car-Dependent neighborhoods

Despite the flaws of the analysis, the map produced by their rating system is still interesting to study.

It might be helpful if we wanted to select areas of the city that would benefit most from pedestrian improvements, more residential density, and/or strategies for creating viable urban environments. It also might make sense for the greenest areas to serve as primary nodes in a transportation system as access to these nodes would theoretically provide access to a wide range of amenities.


MY CURRENT NEIGHBORHOOD

As some of you know, I am currently living in Boston studying planning and urban design. My wife and I sold our cars before moving into a small apartment in Boston’s Back Bay. My school is 1.5 miles from our place and I can get to school in one of three ways: walking, biking, or riding public-transit. I pretty much make this decision based on weather (often terrible here) and how much time I have (biking is fastest by far). We also regularly walk to stores, walk to dinner, or walk to church. And walking here is great, it is literally a textbook example of pedestrian-friendly using Gehl’s criteria. It has historic buildings, a variety of stores and restaurant, sidewalk dining, lots of people, etc…

Still, I am not going to say that life without a car is easy – its not. That is not the point. The point is that life with walking is great!

Of course people will continue to have cars in Oklahoma City – as do most of the people in Greater Boston – but we should not let all of our decisions be so skewed towards an auto-centric city that it ruins any prospect of a walking lifestyle – whether it is out of necessity or by choice.

So where does my current residence stack up on the walkability score? Very Good. It is actually the #1 most walkable neighborhood in the #3 most walkable city.

At some point in the future I will talk more about the Back Bay and what I have learned about urbanity from the time I have spent here. But that will have to wait, because over the next few weeks I am going to be working on a five part series focused on an upcoming development in Downtown Oklahoma City and the incredible opportunity it provides for the city – but only if we decide to do it right! I still have to do some more research and a lot more work. But hopefully it will be worth the wait.

For now, I just want everyone to know that I really appreciate you reading. If you have any ideas of stuff that you would like to discuss in the future, please let me know. I will try to get a little discussion going by asking a simple question:

When was the last time you walked from your house to purchase something from a store?

…and an ice-cream truck does not count.

Norman a Top Ten Best Place to Live!

July 15th, 2008

CNNMoney.com has ranked Norman, Oklahoma as the #6 best place to live in their August 2008 rankings of America’s small cities. I really enjoyed living in Norman during my time at OU and my wife Maggie was born and raised there and still has lots of family there. We have a number of friends from college that decided to stay after graduating and they all seem really glad they did. This only backs up something the people living there already know – Norman can provide a great quality of life. This is good news not only for Norman, but for the entire metro and the state!

Here is the Top 10:

  1. Plymouth, MN 70,100
  2. Fort Collins, CO 129,400
  3. Naperville, IL 142,900
  4. Irvine, CA 193,900
  5. Franklin Township, NJ 59,100
  6. Norman, OK 102,800
  7. Round Rock, TX 92,300
  8. Columbia/Ellicott City, MD 158,800
  9. Overland Park, KS 166,700
  10. Fishers, IN 61,800

You can check out the complete rankings here: CNNMoney.com ‘Best Places to Live’

I Love Oklahoma!

July 10th, 2008

I love Oklahoma! I really do. I have not quite pinpointed why I love it so much. There are some truly terrific things about the state – many of which we need to do a better job of marketing – but there are also so many things that are just embarrassing. And yet, my love for Oklahoma is steadfast if for no other reason than that it is simply home. This affection for a place was perhaps most aptly described by C.S. Lewis in The Four Loves when he discusses what he defines as the first (and best) type of patriotism:

“First, there is love of home, of the place we grew up in or the places, perhaps many, which have been our homes; and of all places fairly near these and fairly like them; love of old acquaintances, of familiar sights, sounds and smells.”

- C.S. Lewis

This is what Oklahoma is to me and always will be. But what about everyone else? How do others feel about the State of Oklahoma? Also, which of the fifty states is the most loved and where does Oklahoma rank?

I decided to try and figure out which state was the most loved. After thinking through a number of fairly complex possibilities for measuring which states were loved the most, I decided on a simple solution suggested by my friend Frank Hebbert. Just Google it! Simply google the phrase “I love Oklahoma” and seeing how many results come back. It provides at least some insight as to how much the state is loved – or at least how often people express that love on the internet – and you can easily compare the results with those of different states.


Method of Data Collection Explained

So I put together a little php code to query Google for all 50 states using the search term “I love stateName” and return the number of results to a table (note: apparently Google frowns on people using their service for this type of “research” and will tag you as a spyware bot and block your service, but it’s not permanent). Here is what I got back. I found the results to be pretty interesting.

Overall Most Loved States





The data is not perfect, though I attempted to manually account for specific circumstances that caused the data to be skewed. For instance, with Indiana the numbers seemed high – initially some 37,900 – but upon further review I discovered that many these results were from the phrase “I love Indiana Jones” (my guess is that most of these were written prior to the release of the The Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls!) Anyway, I subtracted these results as best I could using “-Jones” to end up at the numbers shown above. New York is particularly problematic because it is both the name of the State and a commonly used name for the City – a very large and apparently much beloved city. I added “-city” to the search term to try to account for some of this and also added “-vh1” in hopes of excluding many of the pages specific to the VH1 show that is actually titled, “I love New York”. As you can see – even with these modifications – New York had no trouble coming out on top. Not particularly surprising given the confusion of names b/w city and state and the fact that “I love New York” has been an active campaign to market tourism in the State for over 30 years now.

In addition to this, you could add precision by excluding results specific to a college or sport’s team (i.e. “I love Oklahoma football….a lot!”) or any other phrase that contains the “I love stateName” structure somewhere within the string. But I decided to keep it simple for now and only tackled the two very obvious outliers noted above.

Analyzing the Results

As for my Oklahoma, we finished a very respectable 29th. Not great, but not bad. And this is up against states with much bigger populations, providing a larger number of persons, each with the capacity to type “I love stateName” somewhere on the internet. In fact, Overall Most Loved is not the best measurement of how much a state is loved by its (or outside) residents, because larger states have a built in advantage. To account for this I adjusted the results to reflect the population by calculating the number of results per thousand residents.


Most Loved State per resident

(results per 1000 residents)





Unfortunately, this actually caused Oklahoma to slip to 30th. This is due to huge upward moves from lower population states that tend to attract vacationers, most notably:

  • Wyoming – moving up 34 spots to 9th
  • North Dakota – moving up 32 spots to 14th
  • South Dakota – moving up 31 spots to 13th
  • Delaware – moving up 30 spots to 15th
  • And Vermont – moving up 28 spots to 7th

BUT Oklahoma is now one spot above Texas – which slipped to 31st place – so I am quite pleased with the results (Don’t Mess with Texas…ha!). Still, population is not the best measure as not every resident of say West Virginia has the same access to the internet as a resident of Massachusetts. I couldn’t find reliable data on internet connectivity, but I did find information on the number of households with computers which is at least a step closer to identifying the number of internet users. Here are the results when you adjust the data to reflect household computer ownership:


Most Loved State per household computer

(results per 1000 hh computers)





Finally we have a measure for the love for a state expressed on the internet per internet user (erhh…computer owner). Oklahoma comes in at a completely average 26th place – meaning we benefited by adjusting the numbers for computer ownership – which is not really a good thing. In fact, the states that moved up the most from the population adjusted list to the computer ownership adjusted list are all closely related geographically.

  • Mississippi – moving up 9 spots to 26th
  • Alabama – moving up 5 spots to 18th
  • Oklahoma – moving up 4 spots to 26th
  • Arkansas – moving up 3 spots to 45th
  • Louisiana – moving up 3 spots to 38th



Show Oklahoma Some Love

Now, it is my hope that this post will begin a movement of people writing “I love Oklahoma” on every webpage, blog, message board, and bathroom stall they can find. You don’t have to be an Oklahoman to help, you don’t even have to have visited, all you have to do is write “I love Oklahoma” somewhere on the internet. I will rerun the numbers in a month or so and see if we have had any impact. I have been fairly liberal with my use of the phrase here in hopes of adding to the counts, but I can only do so much!

By the way, “I love Oklahoma City” as well, and sometime soon I intend to continue this series by exploring which cities people love the most – so stay tuned!

Till next time, you can look over the various state rankings listed below in alphabetical order. I have also provided a link at the bottom to the Google Spreadsheet containing all of the data used for the calculations. Or, make up your own test and let me know what you find out.


Alphabetical List of All States



Link to Google Spreadsheet containing all data used to produce rankings.

IloveOK Spreadsheet