More than 500 Attend Opening Summit on June 27 in Delray Beach and Discuss the State of the Region, Provide Input for Development of Regional Blueprint
MIAMI – July 24, 2012 – More than 500 residents, urban planners, business and civic leaders, elected officials, government leaders, and activists recently attended the first of a series of public summits to develop the “Seven50” plan, a 50-year blueprint to help ensure economic prosperity and the best-possible quality of life for the seven counties of Southeast Florida. About 100 additional people watched the event via a live webcast. Registration had been closed early for the over-booked event in Delray Beach, Fla.
The goal of Seven50 is to create stronger, more diverse communities, a cleaner environment and a stronger economy for the region comprised of Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River counties. Led by the South Florida and Treasure Coast Regional Planning Councils and the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership (SFRP), a collaboration of more than 200 public, private and civic stakeholders from the region, the initiative seeks to plan a more prosperous and resilient future. Southeast Florida is quickly becoming a mega-region and major economic driver due to its unique assets, international trade connections, transportation infrastructure, business diversity, and population growth.
The “Opening Summit: State of the Region” on June 27 brought light to key challenges and opportunities that may affect whether Southeast Florida can seize that potential. Attendees discussed a variety of areas that they believe need attention and improvement, including: mass transit; environmental stewardship; water supply; business diversity, and economic resilience. They shared visions of a more pedestrian-friendly super-region that balances the need to accommodate population growths while retaining the cultural integrity and character of local communities.
Currently, six workgroups are actively focused on the following topics:
- Education, Workforce and Economic Development
- Development Patterns
- Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture
- Climate Resilience
- Community Assets and Agriculture
- Inclusive Regional Leadership
Members of these workgroups, will continue to meet to develop goals focused on their respective topics, and will reconvene in January at the second summit, which will take place in downtown Miami. Event details will be announced in the coming months.
“The whole world will watch and learn from the steps we take, as the Southeast Florida region is poised to be one of the first in the world to experience many major impacts of climate change, including sea level rise and more intense storms, so it’s critical for us to look ahead and plan together now as a region,” said Marcela Camblor, Seven50 project director. “Furthermore, the regulatory mechanisms that Florida implements on a state level can help our entire country learn how to create more resilient economic conditions. That’s where Seven50 comes in. It’s an investment plan that will help ensure that the future investments made into our region are the right ones.”
The Opening Summit included a keynote address from Neal Peirce, chairman of The Citistates Group and a widely read syndicated columnist who writes about the political and economic dynamics and emerging roles of metropolitan regions. It also included presentations from such noted thought-leaders as Victor Dover, principal with Dover Kohl & Partners Town Planning; Allison DeFoor, principal with The Fiorentino Group; Robert Burchell, professor with Rutgers University, and Bill Spikowski, owner of Spikowski Planning Associates.
At the highly interactive event, attendees participated in live keypad polls throughout the day and personally recorded videos for the planning team concerning their visions for the region. The poll results, videos and photos of the event may be viewed at www.Seven50.org.
“We are very pleased by the interest and engagement we’re receiving from the public, as evidenced by the overwhelming turnout and the fact that we had to close registration early for the over-booked summit,” Camblor said. “We continue to collaborate and communicate with the public via our website at Seven50.org, and we look forward to continuing to build on this momentum.”
Seven50 is being developed collaboratively with the public’s input and under the guidance of urban design and planning experts such as Dover Kohl & Partners and Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company and others. Devised through a series of forward-thinking, public summits, workshops, online outreach and studies, Seven50 is the result of a grant from the US Department of Housing & Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Initiative. The grant was secured by the South Florida Regional Planning Council and the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council to fund the multi-year regional dialogue. The plan involves more than 200 public agencies and business, community and academic groups, including state and local planners, government officials and academic institutions.
Seven50 (“seven counties, 50 years”) is a blueprint for growing a more prosperous, more desirable Southeast Florida during the next 50 years and beyond. The plan is being developed to help ensure stronger, more diverse communities, a stronger, more resilient economy, and stewardship of the fragile ecosystem in what is quickly becoming one of the world’s most important mega-regions. Spearheaded by the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership (SFRP), a unique collaboration of more than 200 public, private, and civic stakeholders, Seven50 is mapping the strategy for the best-possible quality of life for the more than six million residents of Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties. The plan is being devised through a series of public summits, workshops, online outreach and high-impact studies led by the region’s top thinkers. Seven50 has been made possible by a grant from the US Department of Housing & Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Initiative. For more information, visit www.seven50.org.
About the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership (SFRP)
The Southeast Florida Regional Partnership (SFRP) is a voluntary, broad-based and growing collaboration of more than 200 public, private, and civic stakeholders from the Southeast Florida region of Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties. The partnership has united to leverage resources and coordinate strategic long-term planning to drive competitiveness and prosperity for the region. SFRP seeks greater opportunities for sustained job creation, access to affordable housing, a better menu of transportation options, and more people-friendly, environment-friendly places to live. For more information, visit www.seven50.org.
Editor’s Notes: Interviews may be coordinated upon request
Photographs and data are available upon request