Consultants Help City Leaders In Finding Tulsa's 'Brand'
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa is in the middle of a nine-month study to figure out the city's brand. Consultants who have traveled to cities across the globe are here, taking a close look at what makes Tulsa great and what needs work.
Wednesday night, the focus was on how to draw people here to live, and the featured guest was an urban planner, who has experience in that field.
Brent Toderian, the former city planner for Vancouver, British Columbia, was in Tulsa for the second time. He spoke about Tulsa's homegrown authenticity, but also some of the hurdles.
Consultant Chris Fair and his colleagues spent the last few months helping Tulsa find its competitive identity.
“There is a very unique culture here, and what makes it unique is its authenticity. It’s not manufactured as you see in some other cities,” he said.
He is working alongside Toderian, who highlighted that exact same thing in Tulsa.
"A lot of cool, funky, edgy things are happening, spurred by local entrepreneurialism," Toderian said.
But, as he pointed out to a crowd of Tulsa's Young Professionals Wednesday, the city made some wrong moves over the last few decades.
Toderian said, "It made its streets far too wide and too many one-way traffic roads instead of great streets that are places for people not just to drive through, but walk through, and bike through, and sit and linger on."
Good or bad, Tulsa is ready to hear it.
“He brings such a wealth of knowledge and experience. And to be coming from a city like Vancouver, our organization and our city just dream of being a community like that," said Shagah Zakerion with TYPROS.
Toderian pointed out Tulsa's growing, yet affordable housing market, “That brings people to live downtown, and around downtown, to create body heat around all those new businesses."
And they call the river one of the stronger draws, saying things like the Gathering Place are perfect examples of using our natural resources to help put our city on the map.
The consultants should be finished with this study in the summer. Then, city leaders will get to work on some of the findings.