100 Resilient Cities

Tulsa

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The City of Tulsa has experienced tremendous economic growth over the past century.

For many years, Tulsa was known as an oil capital, and through this industry many residents accumulated wealth that now funds many of the philanthropies and nonprofit organizations that have brought Tulsa renown as one of the most giving communities in the nation. Yet, while Tulsa’s growth has benefited many citizens, not all Tulsans have experienced this increased prosperity.

With the oil boom, Tulsa became a cosmopolitan town and a musical hub, complete with iconic art deco architecture and the most comprehensive art and artifact collection in the American West. But Tulsa was also shaped by a brutal race-based massacre of Black Tulsans in 1921. Over the decades, these historical wounds have festered, breeding persistent inequality—which can be measured in disparate outcomes across health, education, economic opportunity, and other metrics—that has become Tulsa’s existential resilience challenge. Racial equality and our other core resilience challenges are inextricably linked. Moreover, to be effective, we cannot tackle these issues in isolation: we must advance integrated solutions that address multiple related challenges.

Resilient Tulsa provides an actionable roadmap to achieve this vision for a more equitable and resilient city. Inclusivity is the core of this Strategy, and actions presented in Resilient Tulsa are meaningful and measurable. The Strategy includes specific actions that the City and partners will implement, in collaboration with the community, to reduce inequity and thereby make Tulsa more resilient.

01 Create an inclusive future that honors all Tulsans We envision a city where the past is reconciled to form a future that celebrates cultural heritage and eliminates systemic discrimination

02 Equip Tulsans to overcome barriers and thrive We envision a city where all residents can flourish, regardless of their race, ethnicity, residence, health, income, gender, or criminal history.

03 Advance economic opportunity for all Tulsans We envision a city where all Tulsans are equipped to secure and maintain gainful employment irrespective of changes in labor demands

04 Transform city and regional systems to improve outcomes for all Tulsans We envision a city where local and regional systems accurately identify and effectively address community needs

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01

We envision a city where the past is reconciled to form a future that celebrates cultural heritage and eliminates systemic discrimination

Tulsa’s history of racial tension has led to inherent bias. To grow as a unified, strong community, the city must acknowledge the past to correct systemic discrimination. By facing these difficult realities head on, Tulsa can lead the nation in righting persistent wrongs and celebrating its diverse and dynamic city.

The first goal of this vision is to strengthen community cohesion by 2021 by amplifying the voice of historically marginalized communities and creating physical spaces that promote constructive dialogue.

Key initiatives include:

  • Memorializing Black Wall Street
  • Launching race reconciliation conversations in partnership with the faith community
  • Increasing city-wide participation and recognition of Native American Day

The second goal in this vision is to partner with Tulsa’s increasingly diverse communities to shape our shared identity through new planning efforts, cultural assets, and neighborhood events by 2020.

Key initiatives include:

  • Piloting the “Healthy Places” place-based initiative
  • Establishing 918 Day
  • Investing in neighborhoods through Neighborhood Action Plans
  • Welcoming immigrants into Tulsa’s communities

02

We envision a city where all residents can flourish, regardless of their race, ethnicity, residence, health, income, gender, or criminal history.

Historically, discrimination – implicit and explicit – has hindered vulnerable populations’ ability to flourish. As a result, not all Tulsans have the same potential to have a fulfilling life built on a foundation of social stability, health and security. By eliminating existing disparities, the City can build a more equitable foundation to increase access to economic opportunity and health services while also increasing the capacity for social resilience.

The first goal of this vision is to break the cycle of incarceration and ensure fair access to opportunity for previously incarcerated Tulsans.

Key actions include:

  • Launching a public campaign to demystify and humanize adjudicated Tulsans
  • Ensuring successful execution of the 2016 “Ban-the-Box” Executive Order
  • Strengthening relationships among police and communities through community policing improvements
  • Expanding de-escalation language in the use-of force policy to reduce use-of-force incidents

The second goal of this vision is to decrease the racial life expectancy gap by 2024 by improving mental and physical health outcomes for all Tulsans.

Key actions include:

  • Incentivize grocery store development in underserved communities
  • Develop a healthy food environment coalition
  • Implement a community health worker model
  • Increase the impact of the Educare Family Health Project
  • Invest in children’s mental health
  • Champion mental health diversion programs

The third goal of this vision is to prepare all Tulsans, particularly socially and economically vulnerable populations, to weather adverse effects.

Key initiatives include:

  • Developing Resilience Hubs in Comanche Park and River West neighborhoods while ensuring proper hazard response information is disseminated to the public
  • Preparing small businesses to reduce disruption in operations
  • Utilizing Emergency Mobility Plan technology

03

We envision a city where all Tulsans are equipped to secure and maintain gainful employment irrespective of changes in labor demands

Faced with disruptive technologies, the longevity of traditional industries – particularly energy, aviation, manufacturing, and transportation and distribution – is at risk, as is the economic stability of the region. As these anchor industries undergo significant shifts, so too does traditional workforce demand; disproportionate impact can be expected for Tulsa’s socially and economically vulnerable populations. In this new era, the region must turn to evolving industries to diversify its economic base and prepare the local workforce to fill emerging employment gaps.

The first goal of this vision is to prepare Tulsans for post-secondary education, workforce opportunities, and fiscal health in order to shrink the racial wealth gap by 2028.

Key actions include:

  • Launching a citywide Teacher Appreciation Initiative
  • Developing a Mayor’s summer job program for students
  • Empowering Bank$afe Oklahoma in Tulsa

The second goal of this vision is to develop local-talent capacity for jobs of the future.

Key actions include:

  • Partnering with local institutions to address industry-specific skills gaps
  • Providing business support services to promote employment among adjudicated individuals

The third goal of this vision is to attract and retain high-growth industries in which all Tulsans have access to world-class jobs.

Key actions include:

  • Establishing an Innovation District and Prototyping Zone
  • Marketing Tulsa for energy innovation

04

We envision a city where local and regional systems accurately identify and effectively address community needs

Tulsa has a wide-range of public, private, and non-profit service providers, and communities rely on their large presence for basic needs. Partnerships and streamlined communication between groups can diagnose and tackle the needs of constituents, particularly as they vary across the city’s numerous neighborhoods, but also inform where the City should spend its limited general funds.

The first goal is to design more responsive and transparent internal processes that promote proactive decision making through the increased use of data and community feedback by 2022.

Key actions include:

  • Institutionalizing the City of Tulsa’s Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Equity
  • Embedding Resilience in the Comprehensive Plan
  • Conducting implicit bias trainings for Tulsa’s Police Department and all City employees
  • Diversifying City recruiting and retention practices
  • Implementing a Health in All Policies Task Force
  • Using Equality Indicators to support policy development

The second goal of this vision is to engage six neighborhoods a year to design more coordinated and responsive processes that effectively reflect and serve their needs.

Key actions include:

  • Formalizing the Citizen Advisory Board and Citizen Action Groups
  • Launching City Hall-on-the-go
  • Improving City communications and engagement with all Tulsans
  • Developing linguistically accessible City documents
  • Creating a Tulsa Housing Policy Director position

The third goal of this vision is to champion improved policies across the region that advance Tulsans’ well-being, starting in 2019

Key actions include:

  • Investing in a Mayor’s Office for Strategic Partnerships for Mayoral Priorities
  • Lobbying the State for municipal funding and optimize fees for service
  • Advocating for the reform of expungement practice and licensing restrictions statewide

Our Resilience Team

  • DeVon Douglass

    Chief Resilience Officer

    TulsaCRO

Read Tulsa's Resilience Strategy