2020 March POINT!

OKC delegation examines lessons from Houston

I n November 2019, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber took a delegation of its members and other community leaders to Houston for the Chamber’s 14th InterCity Visit. This benchmarking trip serves as a fact-finding and best-practice learning mission for people committed to impacting Oklahoma City’s future. Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States, is larger in scope than most cities that the Chamber has visited in the past, but shares many similarities with Oklahoma City. “The most obvious similarity, of course, is the impact of the energy industry on Houston’s history and current economy,” said Chamber Chair Percy Kirk during the trip’s opening session. “But we also saw similar cultural influences and challenges between Oklahoma City and Houston, and many ways in which we can learn from

Houston’s development, including the growth of the Texas Medical Center, Houston’s increasing diversity and its status as an international trade hub.” Attendees heard from Stephen Klineberg, Founding Director of Kinder Institute for Urban Research, and Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Rice University. For 33 years, Klineberg and his team have conducted the annual Kinder Institute Houston Area Survey, which provides a way to track the changes in demographic patterns, economic outlooks, experiences, and beliefs of Harris County residents. Focusing on diversity, downtown growth Klineberg’s research shows that Houston has become the most diverse city in America and can be considered a picture of what the United States’ demographics will look like in 50 years. According to Klineberg, the future success

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