Like the blueprints of a new home, these guiding principles serve as a foundation for how Tulsa will move forward into a strong, well constructed and innovative future. As the “design process” for Tulsa moves forward, there will be fresh new beginnings and the flexibility to develop in new directions. But all of those beginnings and new directions are based on a solid, consistent foundation of community core values and shared philosophies – these are known as “guiding principles.” This set of draft guiding principles is a collection of Tulsa residents’ shared values as they move forward in shaping an even better Tulsa than it is today.
In the land-use world, these guiding principles are vitally important. They will be used to guide development of a comprehensive plan, ensure that planning recommendations and strategies reflect and support the core values of Tulsa citizens, and serve as a guidepost for potential development scenarios and policy decisions. These guiding principles help answer the question: “ What should Tulsa look and feel like in the future?”
The following set of Tulsa Guiding Principles is grouped into general topic areas. The Guiding Principles include the following:
- Community and Housing
- Equity and Opportunity
- Planning Process
Community and Housing
Tulsans are proud of their city, especially its fine arts, art deco architecture, river, music, and rich ethnic heritage. Tulsa is seen as the type of city where newcomers can move, buy a home, and join the community. Citizens expect that tradition to continue and want to protect the quality of life for Tulsa citizens as the region grows. Future development should protect historic buildings, area neighborhoods and natural resources while also enhancing urban areas and creating new mixed-use centers where people can find everything they need in vibrant communities. It’s vitally important that the look and feel of new construction complement and enhance existing neighborhoods, rather than simply being added on.
New development, particularly on previously vacant or underused land, should provide more housing options and access to shopping areas, entertainment and other amenities. These new neighborhoods should fitseamlessly into the existing transportation network so that residents can access the goods and services other Tulsans now enjoy. Tulsa citizens envision a city with pockets of vibrant, attractive development that provides plenty of places to walk, shop, work and live affordably.
City development policy should be clearly understood and result in predicable outcomes. Regulations should pave the way for the type of development Tulsa residents want to see built in the city. Policy implementation should remain consistent and fair.
Tulsans recognize that using their tax dollars wisely depends in part on better coordination of land use and transportation policies, since the two areas are closely linked. Neighborhoods should be served by a variety of transportation options so that all Tulsans - workers, school children, college students, and retirees - can get where they need to go by walking, biking, driving, or using public transit. Neighborhoods should be pedestrian friendly, with safe and continuous sidewalks, a variety of routes, and good access to transit corridors. New and existing employment centers should include shopping, after-hours activities and housing, so they become richer more vibrant places during both day and night hours. In terms of existing infrastructure, such as streets and sidewalks, Tulsans expect that there will be plans for ongoing maintenance programs.
Tulsans want their city to be a lively and interesting place to live, with its many assets – including art, culture, history, and natural beauty -- as key to maintaining a vibrant, thriving place for residents and visitors alike. As part of a vibrant city’s role in a global economy, it’s important that the established Tulsa community be open and welcoming to new ideas and new people. Residents of all ages and walks of life can move here, be successful and make their homes here. Tulsa’s downtown is seen as an emerging thriving economic engine for the entire region, as well as an energetic neighborhood and cultural center. Civic and business leaders, as well as other stakeholders, must work collaboratively to improve the environment for employers, workers, small businesses, entrepreneurs, artists, and those upon whose creativity the city will depend for the next 30 years.
Equity and Opportunity
Tulsans want to see a cohesive Tulsa – where all residents from north to south — have the ability to create a safe, healthy, viable life for themselves and their families. Education stands as one of the most important components of an equitable Tulsa. Tulsans want school locations to be safe, pedestrian friendly and efficient. They also want cooperation among Tulsa Public Schools, the Tulsa Parks Department, and other public entities to ensure that all public facilities work togetherto shape livable neighborhoods.
Building a world-class pre- and K-12 school system is paramount when it comes to expanding opportunities for all Tulsans, as well as attracting new families. Tulsa should be a city where today’s school children have a voice and a role in planning for their future. Tulsans want a commitment on the part of civic, business, and government leaders to expand the range of housing, employment, transportation, education and health care available across incomes, ethnicities and cultures. Government should be transparent, accessible and inclusive so residents have a voice in solving their community’s problems today and are a part of planning for tomorrow.
Tulsans expect their city to draw upon its long experience in the energy industry to become a leader in sustainability, carbon neutrality, and the efficient use of natural resources. The city should work to expand the range of transportation options by embracing walking, biking, and public transit in addition to the use of the automobile – while also encouraging land uses that support the full spectrum of transportation options. New buildings should meet high standards for energy, water, and carbon efficiency while delivering high quality spaces for people and contributing to the city’s architectural heritage. Tulsans want to live in a city that is uncluttered by visual pollution such as overpowering signage, unsightly placement of utilities, and unmanaged refuse. Creating environmentally sensitive public infrastructure and maintaining the city’s parks, greenways and natural areas also are keys to a clean and beautiful Tulsa.
Tulsans expect city planning to be inclusive and transparent, with land use and neighborhood plans adopted, funded, implemented, and monitored for performance in an open, public process. Plans should clearly state the community challenges they seek to address, the goals they want to accomplish, and the implementation measures needed to reach those goals. Identifying funding requirements and sources, either existing or new, should be part of any plan’s development so that government leaders stakeholders, and the community are informed about the tradeoffs involved. Neighborhood and specific area plans should be consistent with the citywide comprehensive plan, and implementation should conform to the adopted plan. Lastly, Tulsans want the planning process to be clear, understandable and relevant to their lives.
Download PDF version of guiding principles (PDF, 3.5MB)