ULI Meeting Takes SE Florida Into the Future

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By Jennifer LeClaire

MIAMI—Victor Dover is a man on a mission—and he laid out that mission in a creative presentation at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, FL on Thursday afternoon. His presentation was part of the Urban Land Institute’s 2013 South Florida Economic & Development Outlook Program.

Dover spelled out Seven50, a “blueprint for ensuring economic prosperity and the best possible quality of live for Southeast Florida.” Seven50 stands for “seven counties, 50 years.”

Led by 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, 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.

During his presentation, Dover took attendees on a trip back to 1962 to see how the thinking of the brightest minds in land planning 50 years ago brought us to where we are today. He pointed to cultural, political and environmental trends, among others, that shaped urban land planning. Among them were the opening of the first Kmart, Hurricane Donna and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

“In 1962, there was the largest build up of men and material for the coming war than at any time in mankind in Southeast Florida,” Dover said. “We were also sitting right on the edge of a cultural revolution and technology was changing so fast… Florida responded with phenomenal growth.”

That was the past, but what about the future? Dover says something needs to change. There’s too much urban sprawl. The impact on the environment is heavy. Commute times are worsening. And with an additional 3 million residents expected to populate the region during the 50 years—bringing the residential count to more than 9 million—the way land is planned and buildings are constructed from this point forward needs to take a dramatic shift toward density and mixed use.

“A little bit of mixed use helps your carbon footprint a lot,” Dover said. “We are starting to see reinvestment into underutilized areas and developers are more often constructing buildings where the outdoor matters and building more intensely around transit.”

Dover’s conclusion: “Think regional. Think long-term. Grow local. Then we can have the outcomes we really want.”

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