I actually predicted this: after doing interviews and writing a story about the upcoming opening of the Bricktown Red Dirt Marketplace, I expected there would be some folks at www.okctalk.com who would automatically throw rocks, call it a flea market and dismiss it as being relevant at all in the effort to bring more retail to Bricktown.
Ah, the experts. The all-knowing experts who know everything – online.
Where are the Saks Fifth Avenues? Where are the Nordstrums? Where are all the wonderful high end retailers that should be bringing downtown to life?
Now, one could try to make this a debate over old/new media. Whatever. That’s not what’s going on here. I’m daring to suggest that the people with such expectations need to be better informed. And that doesn’t mean read and believe what I’m reporting. Do your own digging. Do your research. Get involved and find out for yourselves what is and isn’t possible.
One venue for doing so is to get involved with the local chapter of the Urban Land Institute. Yes, it does include developers, real estate professionals and property owners. But it also includes planners and regular urban dwellers and folks out in the community.
This isn’t the first time I’ve dared people to get off their keyboard to get a better understanding of their community. And to the credit of some, it’s a dare that’s been taken up in the past (Kudos to Midtowner at OKCTalk, who often keeps me on my toes, for showing up at a ULI session last year).
There are other means for staying better informed (beyond this whole new media/old media thing) that include local rotary clubs (Bricktown, MidTown, Club 29), Urban Neighbors, the current Let’s Talk Transit sessions, the monthly Bricktown Association meetings (which I believe welcome guests), and let’s not forget, the weekly city council meetings.
Not only is almost certain you’ll end up being better informed by getting involved with these groups, but you’ll also likely enjoy some good friendships.
Of course, it’s easier to just type on a compute. And I doubt anything will stop those who prefer to just go online and throw rocks at those trying to make a difference.