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Old Posted Aug 4, 2011, 1:40 AM
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WilliamTheArtist WilliamTheArtist is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Tulsa Oklahoma
Posts: 800
I think to a large degree it just snuck up on us. It sounded and looked nice. That first ring of new development around the city wasn't so bad at all. Not too many new roads and you could still easily get to the city and enjoy what it had to offer. But then with a bit more, the city started to struggle, the trendy strip malls and suburban homes started looking nicer. And by then we had created a very enticing new dream that led us ever outward with a vengance.

As a case in point, Tulsa was originally modeled after the European ideal. At the turn of the century the rich Oil Barons wanted to show off and create a classic, world class city that they could be proud of with grand theater palaces, majestic skyscrapers, Iitalianate Villas, Ballet, Opera, fountains, Cathedrals, etc. They even had plans for a Ponti Vecchio style bridge crossing the river. We had some of the highest population densities in the US, more buildings of 10 stories or more than any other city our size, we were called the most beautiful city in the US. You would have thought that would have been a nice model to keep and build up.

BUT...looking back at Tulsa in the 50s you could see there was this great exuberance and energy for the modern. We could rip it all down and rebuild shiny and new. And why not? Money was no problem and that shiny new, clean lined future we saw in the magazines and on TV was so fun and enticing looking "The World of Tomorrow!". We need to be a part of that and not fall behind. So with exciting fanfair we ripped out our core left and right building the future. We couldn't see, and didn't care to ponder, the real consequences of continuing in that direction over a long period of time. It was only afterwards, when the shiny dream turned middle age, that many began to realize that things weren't all they were cracked up to be. There was indeed something good that we had left behind, and eternal sprawl had some serious headaches.

Now we are faced with looking at both models, urban and suburban and trying to work out a new paradigm. We are trying to create a new dream, or set of dreams, both of which contain some difficult new realities and challenges. We can't only continue the usual sprawl, but its a model we know oh so well, and will keep plying it, for its "the devil we know". And the city core now has the added difficuty of having to take into account the automobile and a different set of lifestyle expectations and habits.
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