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This Tour is a Walking Tour.

Downtown Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Era Walking Tour

Created by Larry Johnson on September 2nd 2022, 5:09:05 pm.

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Welcome to the Metro Library's walking tour of Downtown OKC urban renewal sites. Please enjoy this tour safely, following normal precautions when walking around the city - keep an eye out for traffic and always maintain an awareness of your surroundings. Myth and controversy surround the urban renewal era and hopefully after completing this tour you will have a clear understanding of the era of the 1960s and 1970s in Downtown OKC. It's important to note that even though the period covered in this tour is called the urban renewal era, OKC has undertaken some form of major urban renewal roughly every 30 years since statehood. Renewal programs in cities nationwide made use of federal housing money and an expansion of the powers of eminent domain from the courts to clear blighted areas in urban cores. Despite its young age, OKC had definite problems caused by rapid growth and uncontrolled postwar urban sprawl. In the late 1950s civic and business leaders began the process of planning urban renewal culminating in the selection of noted architect I. M. Pei as the master planner. We commonly use the term "Pei Plan" as an umbrella term but there were actually a series of projects and plans in many parts of the city between 1964 and 1966. For the purposes of this tour, we will use the term Pei Plan and the 1964 date for convenience. The Downtown portion of the Pei Plan was somewhat ominously called Project 1-A. It was administered by the Urban Renewal Authority and called for a near-total transformation of Downtown OKC stretching from Shartel to the Santa Fe tracks and NW 6 to SW 3.