Monday, September 7, 2009

How Sidewalks Bring about Safety

"It does not take many incidents of violence on a City street, or in a city district to make people fear the streets. And as they fear them, they use them less, which makes the streets still more unsafe."

Every time an article in the Tulsa World newspaper online talks about downtown you can quickly see in the comments section that there is a complete misconception about how downtown streets and sidewalks are unsafe. The television news stations with their constant fear mongering reports have only intensified this. I think about Chicago which had far more scary homeless people but I was never scared because they were always outnumbered by good natured people.

I have been biking to work for three years on the downtown streets in the dark of the morning and I am definitely outnumbered by the homeless. I have never found a homeless guy that hasn't returned a "good morning". They are much friendlier than people in any Tulsa mall.

Here is the interesting part

"The barbarism and the real, not imagined, insecurity that gives rise to such fears cannot be tagged a problem of the slums. The problem is most serious, in fact, in genteel-looking "quiet residential areas."

So many things like this are the opposite of what we have been led to believe. Our friend was telling us about the house he grew up in at 101st and Sheridan-a nice middle class quiet neighborhood. His old house was taken over by squatters who tore the place to pieces. It was amazing to us that this was allowed to go on in this neighborhood, but it makes sense when no one comes out of their house to realize such things and when the neighborhood is not organized enough to combat such problems.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

City Planner

My plan is to read "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" by Jane Jacobs as I explore Boston.

The New York Times called it "Perhaps the most influential single work in the history of town planning...a work of literature."

The Story of Tulsa

A quote from “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” by Jane Jacobs seems to explain Tulsa perfectly.

“There is a wistful myth that if only we had enough money to spend–the figure is usally put at a hundred billion dolars–we could wipe out all our slums in ten years, reverse decay in the great, dull, gray belts that were yesterday’s and day-before-yesterday’s suburbs, anchor the wandering middle class and its wandering tax money, and perhaps even solve the traffic problem.

But look what we have built with the first several billions: Low-income projects that become worse centers of delinquency, vandalism and general social hopelessness than the slums they were supposed to replace. Middle-income housing projects which are truly marvels of dulness and regimentation, sealed against any buoyancy or vitality of city life. Luxury housing projects that mitigate their inanity, or try to, with a vapid vulgarity. Cultural centers that are unable to support a good bookstore. Civic centers that are avioded by everyone but bums, who have fewer choices of loitering place than others. Commercial centers that are lack-luster imitations of standardized suburban chain-store shopping. Promenades that go from no place to nowhere and have no promenaders. Expressways that eviscerate great cities. This is not the rebuilding of cities. This is the sacking of cities.”

Saturday, August 22, 2009


A quote by Os Guiness.

“The saturation and overload produced by pluralization, and reinforced by mobility, are a leading cause of modern alienation. If we have lived in too many places, had too many jobs, known too many people, and watched too much TV, how do we make sense of it all? Is there a storyline to our lives or are they just a jumble of experiences that are “sound and fury, signifying nothing”? Are we condemned to what historian Arnold Toynbee called “telling one damn thing after another”? Or is there a meaning to our life-stories despite the dislocations?”

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Quote by Vaclav Havel: “The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less.”

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Here is a quote I like by Os Guinness.
“The overall lesson of insatiability is that money alone cannot buy the deepest things we desire. Money never purchases love, or eternity, or God. It is the wrong means, the wrong road, the wrong search. That is why the pursuit is vanity. ‘Nothing gained’ is the final lesson of insatiability.

Yet the pursuit continues. We keep upping the ante. The horizon recedes as we approach. We still don’t stop. As Sam Walton’s wife Helen admitted, ‘I kept saying, Sam, we’re making a good living. Why go out, why expand so much more? The stores are getting farther and farther away. After the seventeenth store, though, I realized there wasn’t going to be any stopping it.’
When John D. Rockefeller, Sr., was asked how much money it takes to make a man happy, he gave the immortal reply, ‘Just a little bit more.’ It is always over the next horizon, after we’ve conquered the next summit. It’s always tomorrow.”

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bike to Work

THE COMMUTE: A lot of us commute to work five days a week. What is the healthiest way to do that? The City of Tulsa has an awesome tool to help us make that decision. It is called green traveler and is located at . I have chosen biking because I bought a house close to work. But depending on where you live, green-traveler helps you choose between walking, biking, carpooling, and the bus.