First Advisor

Meg Merrick

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Community Development and University Honors


Community Development


Community development -- Oklahoma -- Tulsa, Community development -- Oregon -- Portland, Urban renewal




This thesis explores the relation between successful revitalization efforts and community engagement initiatives. The cities of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Portland, Oregon are compared on their most recent planning documents related to their downtown and/or central city. In 2010, The City of Tulsa adopted the Tulsa Comprehensive Plan, as well as the Downtown Area Master Plan (DAMP). These documents began a new era of revitalization after decades of disinterest and neglect for Tulsa’s downtown area. Portland’s revitalization efforts date back to the 1972 Downtown Plan. The plan launched participatory planning policies and inspired enthusiasm for a vibrant central city that continues to this day. The most recent Central City Plan (2016) echoes many of the earlier plan’s values and visions for Portland.

Contextualization of Tulsa and Portland suggest that although they are at different points on their revitalization timeline, their commonalities as cities far outweigh their differences. Comparative analysis between the cities’ shows that Portland’s policies to assure citizen involvement throughout the planning process have led to stronger and more transparent plans which have withstood the test of time better than comparable documents in Tulsa. Increased community ownership of the planning process in Tulsa is suggested in order to guarantee these plans achieve their goals and stay relevant over time.


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