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Oklahoma Voices: The Revitalization of Downtown Oklahoma City (Sep 14, 2008)
Exciting things are taking place in Oklahoma City! That’s a common feeling among many city residents, civic and business leaders, politicians and young people these days. As evidence, they point to the arrival of a professional basketball team, plans to develop the riverfront and build an urban boulevard and city park, the return of neighborhoods like The Plaza District and Automobile Alley and a burgeoning arts scene with annual events like Momentum and the “Ghouls Gone Wild” Halloween parade. Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett says the real key to the future success of downtown is increasing the population density, and now that too is starting to happen. Over the past few years, developers have begun building over one thousand, new housing units in areas like Block 42 and Maywood Park.

Next time on Oklahoma Voices, we speak with Oklahoma City architect Hans Butzer about the revitalization of downtown Oklahoma City. In 1997, Butzer and his wife Torrey designed the winning plan for the Oklahoma City National Memorial, and in the past few years, much of his work has focused on continuing to “redefine” the city. He’s been instrumental in the Core to Shore project to redesign much of downtown, and as part of that, last week, he and his colleagues won a contract to design a pedestrian bridge over the new, I-40 Crosstown Expressway, scheduled to open in 2012. Butzer discusses downtown Oklahoma City’s growth from an urban planning perspective, and he talks about how the city can fix what he says are some of its past mistakes.

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