A “healthy cities” movement taking place in Oklahoma City. An awesome effort by Mayor Cornett to draw attention to the built environment and how it can affect both the physical and mental health of its city dwellers.
When Oklahoma City was ranked the second-fattest city in America in 2009, Mayor Mick Cornett examined the problem and declared that the city’s car-oriented design and unfriendly streets were at fault. Pedestrian-unfriendly design was detracting from the city’s livability, which also meant that it contributed to the outmigration of young, intelligent workers – often known as “brain drain.” The mayor secured funding for a series of transit, bike, and pedestrian improvements, as well as for downtown recreation areas and street redesign. Though the projects will take a long time to be fully realized, many changes that are currently being implemented are drastically transforming Oklahoma City neighborhoods, turning them into (in the words of Mayor Cornett) “neighborhoods where you don’t have to own a car if you don’t want to. You can live, work and play all in the same neighborhood — and that was unheard of ten years ago.”
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