NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:
Norman is a very special place. All of us who live and work in our city feel fortunate to be part of this community.
Recently, OU’s new Institute for Quality Communities (IQC) held a daylong conference on city planning and how to give a special sense of place to our communities.
Some called the speakers one of the greatest collections of experts ever brought together to share thoughts about creating community. Over 1,000 elected city officials, planners, civic leaders and community volunteers from across Oklahoma and from nearby states were in the audience throughout the day.
I left the conference thinking about what we can do together to make Norman even more beautiful and more livable. For example, slides were shown comparing cities that have chosen to pave every available area with concrete.
Wide, characterless roads and streets were compared with narrower streets with less concrete and more greenbelts and trees and wonderful sidewalks for pedestrians and lanes for bicyclists. In many cases, less concrete leads to more beauty and livability. Roads leading into town can either give an ugly impression with nothing to indicate that this is a special place or the entrances can leave a lasting impression of beauty and uniqueness.
I thought immediately of Lindsey Street and how it should be designed. We get few chances to make a lasting impression on our hometown. What we do about Lindsey Street is an opportunity that may never come again. It is critical that we make the right decisions instead of fast decisions.
The University and the city are true partners in so many ways. We recently worked to help keep our airport control tower operating. We work together to bring jobs to Norman.
Norman residents help as volunteers at our largest museums on the campus, which both rank among the top six museums in the entire state. There is a long list of other cooperative projects.
Now we have a chance for OU’s new Institute for Quality Communities to work with the excellent leadership and staff of our city to help transform Norman into an even more special place. Norman can be a model for the nation. Let the collaboration begin.
President of the University of Oklahoma