OU Institute for Quality Communities

At the IQC, we seek to serve and strengthen Oklahoma’s towns and cities while educating the next generation of Oklahoma’s leaders. We collaborate with faculty and students from The University of Oklahoma, as well as cutting-edge practitioners from around the world, to enhance our understanding of the built environment’s influence on quality of life. Through the IQC’s engagements with communities and civic leaders, our OU team helps the citizens of Oklahoma reshape their towns and cities in ways that improve our state’s social ties, environment, and economy.
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Recent Posts

Ada’s Sugg Clinic

Ron Frantz is featured in this short “Explore Ada” documentary, sharing the history and design of the Sugg Clinic, a building in Ada, Oklahoma. In the video, Ron describes how the Sugg Clinic, in the streamline moderne style, is an example of Oklahoma towns keeping up with modern architecture styles that were trending nationwide. “It must have been fascinating to watch it being built, then listen to the town talk about what was going on here, with that light green color that was so different from red brick and limestone buildings in Ada.” Ron finds a special significance in historic buildings like the Sugg Clinic: “I think that our grandparents gave us an incredible architectural heritage. They were working so hard, sometimes with so little, through some tough times. But, they still believed in themselves and their communities. The architectural statements in Ada, like so many of our communities, show these people believed in creating a future for their descendants.” Check out more Explore Ada videos at the City of Ada’s YouTube...

Western Avenue Update

In 2013, we assisted the City of Oklahoma City with a design for the Western Avenue Streetscape in a commercial district between 41st and 46th Street. Our design for Western Avenue focused on maximizing pedestrian space, making it safer and more comfortable to be outside on the street, and calming traffic to slower speeds. Now, construction is underway on the new street design. Here’s a tour of some of the improvements along with images showing what the street will look like in the future. 1. Wider sidewalks Our observations identified “Lost Space” on Western, which has been used as a buffer between on-street parking and the driving lane. The design returned this space to the sidewalk to make people more comfortable and to slow down cars with a narrower driving lane. Construction on this block is widening the sidewalk by several feet in an area where outdoor dining has always been crowded into a small area. This block will get a much wider sidewalk with more room for street trees and dining areas. 2. Median Gateway One of the most important goals was to reduce speeds in the district to levels that would be safer for people to cross the street on foot at unsignalized crosswalks. At the entrance to the district at 41st Street, the team placed a small island median that will have space for landscaping, a district marker, and a pedestrian refuge. The gateway will signal to drivers that they are entering a slower speed environment. Half of the curbs for the median gateway have been poured. The other half will be added when crews begin...

Placemaking Residency: Chuck Marohn and Tripp Muldrow

We extended the reach of the 2015 IQC Placemaking Conference by sending three conference speakers on the road in Oklahoma during the week of the conference. Gil Penalosa traveled with the IQC to Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Chuck Marohn and Tripp Muldrow traveled with the IQC to Enid, Lawton, Ada, and northwest Oklahoma City. Enid In Enid, we were hosted by Main Street Enid. The trip included a public lecture, walking tour, and meetings with public officials. Local issues for discussion included a proposed downtown hotel and revitalization of central city neighborhoods. More Photos Lawton The City of Lawton and Fit Kids of Southwest Oklahoma hosted Chuck, Tripp, and the IQC team. Topics included recent economic development and recreation projects, the demands of a military town, and the potential for Lawton’s downtown. More Photos Ada In Ada, the City of Ada, East Central University, the Chickasaw Nation, and First United Bank hosted the team. the topic for the residency included a package of public projects that will improve the city, including downtown streetscapes, parks improvements, and public swimming pools. The package is funded primarily by a special one-penny sales tax approved by voters. More Photos Camelot Neighborhood, Northwest Oklahoma City The Camelot Neighborhood Association and Northpark Mall hosted the team on Friday. The discussion focused primarily on preservation and adaptation of mid-century neighborhoods. Additionally, Chuck and Tripp considered plans by current IQC community workshop students to provide pedestrian connections between the residential neighborhood and Northpark Mall. More...

Quality Places.

By the end of the 20th century, most towns and cities throughout the country – and certainly throughout Oklahoma – were struggling to deliver environments that fostered the quality of life that previous generations took for granted: vibrant main streets; public spaces where neighbors interacted daily; and safe, inviting open spaces where citizens of all ages gathered. We work with civic leaders to help citizens shape desirable places that define quality communities.

Increasing Community.

OU President David Boren expressed in his book A Letter to America, “Every decision should be made with the goal of increasing community.” We believe that great places are at the heart of great communities. The built environment strongly influences our social ties, how attached we feel to our communities, and our level of civic engagement. We help Oklahoma towns and cities reshape public spaces into environments that help forge community. In addition, the very act of reshaping our public spaces can galvanize community ties and spur further positive impacts.

How can we help your community?

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