What is the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership?
The Southeast Florida region is comprised of Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties. With an estimated 2013 population of more than 6.4 million, this region is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country. These seven counties, though diverse, have much in common including a shared history, environment and watershed, economic interdependence, transportation system, and recreational, social and cultural activities. This seven-county area is classified as “Southeast Florida” by Enterprise Florida, and defined as the “Southeast Region” in the Florida Department of Transportation’s Strategic Intermodal System Plan.
Why was the Partnership created?
In January 2010, regional and community leaders came together and began to build upon existing relationships and partnerships to establish the Partnership and develop a joint application to the U.S. HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program. Partnership members adopted Livability Principles and committed to work collaboratively to support the sustainable development and redevelopment of Southeast Florida.
- Provide more transportation choices.
- Promote equitable, affordable housing.
- Enhance economic competiveness.
- Support existing communities.
- Coordinate policies and leverage investment.
- Value communities and neighborhoods.
What is the Sustainable Communities Initiative?
On June 16, 2009, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Transportation, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The goals of this program are to improve the coordination, efficiency and effectiveness of federal programs and investments, leverage local investment, develop enhanced federal and local working partnerships, promote economic development and resiliency, and create better outcomes in local communities.
The goal of the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program is to support multi-jurisdictional regional planning efforts that integrate housing, economic development, and transportation considerations and enable public, private, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations to consider the interdependent challenges of economic growth, social equity and environmental impact simultaneously in their respective decision making processes. The Program places a priority in investing in broad-based partnerships that develop “strategies that direct long-term development and reinvestment, demonstrate a commitment to addressing issues of regional significance, utilize data to set and monitor progress toward performance goals, and engage stakeholders and citizens in meaningful decision-making roles.”
What is the Seven50: Southeast Florida Prosperity Plan?
In October 2010, with the assistance of the South Florida and Treasure Coast Regional Planning Councils, the Partnership secured a $4.25 million regional planning grant from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Over the course of the three-year grant, these resources were matched by more than $ 2 million in local match from Partnership members.
These resources have been used to develop the Seven50: Southeast Florida Prosperity Plan. This Prosperity Plan reflects regional agreement around priority investments in key areas of importance to Southeast Florida’s future. With broad public input, these issues have coalesced into a coherent strategy and investment plan in support of the future sustainability and economic prosperity of our communities and region. While the Prosperity Plan will continue to evolve, the initial phase of the plan is complete. To view the plan, please visit http://seven50report.org/
What happens next?
In its Prosperity Plan, the Partnership has identified key regional initiatives that will enhance economic development and competitiveness, environmental sustainability, and communities through a focus on broad-based inclusion and access to opportunity. Broadly stated, these initiatives are focused on issues related to Everglades and waterways; balanced mobility (transportation); climate preparedness and resilience; education and workforce; and economic competitiveness and opportunity. These initiatives require continued community support and significant regional and local leadership to successfully move them forward.
Large and complex opportunities and challenges require coordinated multi-sector, collaborative approaches across jurisdictional boundaries particularly given the region’s highly fragmented jurisdictional and regulatory environment. Working with citizens, community leaders, and other local and regional stakeholders we must clearly identify the opportunities and challenges we are trying to address, set shared goals, use data and indicators to improve regional and local decision making, track progress and drive investments that will help us achieve our goals.
The Sustainable Communities Initiative has enabled the region to develop consensus around a strategic vision and investment plan that will chart the course to a brighter and more prosperous future for Southeast Florida’s residents and in turn, Florida. It is expected that the Seven50: Southeast Florida Prosperity Plan will:
- serve as the framework for future federal, state and local investment;
- support and advance the efforts of individual counties, municipalities and other multi-sector partners whose plans and projects further the implementation of the Prosperity Plan; and
- enhance the ability of the Southeast Florida region to secure resources needed for critical infrastructure projects that further regional sustainability, economic growth, and access to opportunity throughout the region and its communities.
“Preferred Sustainability Status” for certain federal grant programs has already resulted in millions of dollars in additional investment in Southeast Florida through its Partnership member organizations.
Why is the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership important?
The opportunity presented by the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program has provided renewed impetus for bringing together and expanding existing local and regional partnerships under the umbrella of a new “Southeast Florida Regional Partnership.” Just as other regions in the state and country have proactively organized themselves to effectively address the opportunities and challenges facing their regions, the Partnership has the opportunity to evolve and mature into a long lasting collaborative partnership where discussion and consensus building on issues of regional importance and action can occur.
The continued development and implementation of the Southeast Florida Prosperity Plan is dependent on the continued interest, involvement and commitment of the Partnership. As the Partnership continues to evolve and mature, it is expected that the Partnership’s areas of interest and collaborative efforts will continue to grow over time.