I hope this letter finds you in good health and wellbeing, knowing full well that each of us, in different ways, are living under difficult circumstances each and every day as the unknowns of the future continue to sink in.
As a long-time member and current Chair of the organization, I think about ULI Oklahoma members like I do my own family. Your contributions through thoughtfulness, candidness, appetite for risk and new ideas, collaboration, innovation, and outlay of energy and monies have transformed Oklahoma’s metro areas into places that have caught the eye of so many across the country. For that and more, I thank you.
As we look to the future, my only ask is that you keep an open mind about “hanging in there” with us. The Urban Land Institute’s national staff and leadership have mandated that all District Councils cancel events through at least June 30th, and here at the local level, we are in agreement with their direction. It is reasonable to assume that no one truly has any idea how long this will last. What we do know is that we have many things within our control, including new, virtual opportunities, allowing ULI Oklahoma to continue the educational and informative programming we all enjoy. During this crisis, our goal is to provide our members with the same high-quality content, even if delivered in a medium that is new to our members. We hope the slate of upcoming programs will help take your mind off the current situation and dream a bit about the future, if just for a moment.
The virtual programs in the works include:
A regional series in collaboration with ULI NW Arkansas and ULI Tulsa:
A lecture and discussion on rethinking the traditional suburban neighborhood with Richard McKown (More Info)
Zoom meet-up discussions about the television series “The Life Sized City” (can be accessed via the ULI Oklahoma Library)
When we can again meet in-person, we are also planning the following:
Hand-Sketching 101 with Geoff Parker
Our next peer city trip, this time to Denver, CO (yep, you heard it here first)
Bradford House Site Tour
Oklahoma State Capitol Renovations Site Tour
Downtown Edmond Development Update and future site tour
Finally, we have two initiatives, IncDev and UrbanPlan for Public Officials, that will be implemented regardless of our circumstances. More details on these programs will be announced over the coming weeks.
As you can see, ULI Oklahoma’s staff and volunteers have not and will not be sitting idle. There will be value in your membership, and we thank those who stick with us. Please periodically check our events page (ULI Oklahoma Events) as we add the above events, and more, in the near future. Additionally, as a member-led organization, if you have ideas for virtual topics and would like to discuss in more detail, please let us know.
The mission of the Urban Land Institute is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. As it relates to our mission, I have had many observations about the resilience of humans and the interactions we have with our respective environments as we endure this crisis, including: more neighbors sitting on their front porches and engaging with each other, even if from six or more feet apart; parks and public spaces crawling with runners, kite flyers, hammockers, and families seeking joy in the presence of nature; small businesses innovating, in many changing the way we do business to be more sustainable and for the betterment of all; friends and family finding ways to connect via technology while vowing to get together “soon enough”; and of course, many opportunities for some interrrresting Impact Awards’ videos. There is no doubt that our land use and development patterns may shift and the very idea of “public space” may take on new definition, however, I am also confident we will never again take for granted the opportunities we have to interact when are able to seek each other’s company in the (hopefully near) future. I, for one, cannot wait to see your smiling faces again soon.