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About Resilient Tulsa

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Purpose
The Resilience Strategy serves as a roadmap to addresses Tulsa’s most pressing challenges and seeks to build capacity among residents, city systems and community partners to build a more resilient city. Resilient Tulsa is organized into four overarching visions, 11 goals and 41 actions, which taken together strive to produce long-term solutions to challenges ranging from extreme weather events to significant racial, economic, and health inequities. Each action also outlines success metrics that the City will use to track progress. 

To achieve the visions outlined in the strategy, collaborative partnerships among local governments, community members, businesses, nonprofits, the philanthropic community, the faith community and national and international partners will be key to implementing the strategy. Through a whole-community approach, working together as a community to develop and implement innovative programs and policies will complete Tulsa’s transformation into a city where all Tulsans experience the benefits of equity and resilience.

Process
DeVon Douglass, Tulsa’s Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), has worked with community stakeholders across governments, philanthropies, non-profit organizations and the private sector since December 2016 to develop the Resilient Tulsa Strategy.

The CRO partnered with several advisory groups that played a critical role in the creation of the Strategy. A Steering Committee, which included 14 community leaders from a variety of backgrounds met regularly to shape the initiatives in the strategy, provide feedback and facilitate community partnerships that will drive the strategy implementation. In addition, a Racial Equity Advisory Committee that included more than 23 community leaders from a diverse background met regularly to collaborate in strategy development and advance the overarching goal of promoting racial equity. Development of Resilient Tulsa kicked-off with an Agenda Setting Workshop in September 2015 that engaged Tulsans from various backgrounds and began the process of identifying priority resilience challenges. 

Tulsa’s CRO worked with more than 1,400 stakeholders, including representatives from city and regional governments, local non-profits, the private sector, faith-based organizations, academic institutions, philanthropic groups and residents to identify priority areas that Tulsans agreed need to be addressed in order to build the city’s resilience. The engagements took place in a variety of settings, which included interviews, small focus groups and public forums such as “Not Your Uncle’s Forum: An Interactive Conversation about Resilience.”

Regardless of the context, Tulsans of diverse economic, social, and geographic backgrounds shared strikingly similar perspectives about Tulsa and identified common themes. This work resulted in Tulsa’s Preliminary Resilience Assessment (PRA), which leveraged the collective feedback to designate the city’s baseline resilience strengths to build upon, which include a strong philanthropic community, a universal pre-kindergarten, and a comprehensive flood plan, as well as areas for improvement, which include: health disparities, challenges related to the criminal justice system, education funding and natural disasters. 

Building upon this work, the CRO led four interdisciplinary working groups to build upon the city’s strengths and further explore priority areas identified in the PRA. These working groups, led by future implementation partners, included Healthy Communities, Racial Equity and Opportunity, Responsive and Effective Governance and World-Class Tulsa. The working groups, which included 123 experts and stakeholders from across a variety of backgrounds, researched opportunities and best practices through surveys and focus groups that reached more than 800 Tulsans. Each group then developed clear, actionable initiatives that best articulate Tulsans’ aspirations for their city, forming the backbone of the visions, goals, and actions that make up Resilient Tulsa.

Progress
To achieve the goals outlined in the strategy, implementation efforts must be shared by not only the City government and community partners, but individual residents. To ensure the strategy adapts as the city evolves, the strategy will continue to be updated as needed to align Tulsans’ priorities. To that end, the Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Equity (MORE) has committed to providing annual updates on progress, along with necessary amendments every two years. MORE will provide progress updates and share news of various projects as they develop in the coming months.