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Ft-Laud-Facts-smPlanning is a highly interactive process in our City. DSD works closely with Transportation & Mobility on issues like traffic calming and safe cycling. They work with Public Works on water management, with Police on safe streets, with Parks & Recreation on green space expansion, and with our Sustainability Division on everything from recycling to to long-range sea level issues.

New Approaches to Urban Design

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As you get familiar with all of the topics on our website, you will notice a common theme: cities and the people who live in them have a huge impact on natural environmental systems. Concrete and asphalt produce a heat island effect. Air conditioned buildings spew greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Traffic increases idle time, which is another factor in GHG emissions. Litter and chemicals run-off into waterways. Cities gobble up habitat, endanger wildlife, and produce enormous volumes of waste.

Yet cities, well planned cities, are actually one of the keys to achieving true resiliency and sustainability.

Four Sustainable Urban Design Principles 

Methodical application of the specific urban design principles can help to reverse some of the negative impacts of our nation's industrial past.

These principles include limiting urban sprawl, creating civic spaces which support living and working in the same area, connecting these spaces to each other, and increasing walkability. Key goals are to limit the amount of time that people need to be in their cars, to facilitate local purchasing, and to maximize the value to the community of each individual building. Achieving these goals allows us to reduce GHG emissions, cool our city, and keep our water and green spaces clean and healthy.

  The City of Fort Lauderdale is proud to be a leader in this type of city planning. Our Department of Sustainable Development (DSD) has sustainability right in its name! DSD's urban design team is tasked with shaping our City's physical realm in a way that allows buildings, streets and public places to function better so that the way people interact with their environment promotes resiliency and green living.    

Read on to learn more about these four important design principles, and how they come together to influence plans and design guidelines, and to create policy.

Promoting Density and Mixed Use

Creating Spaces of Value

Connecting Places

Inviting Pedestrians

Translating the Principles to Guidelines

It is one thing to subscribe to certain design principles, and quite another to put them to work. Design Guidelines are the planners tool for doing just that.

Guidelines address building form, height and density, parking standards, vehicular and pedestrian circulation, building frontage standards, streetscape, landscaping, historic preservation, and so on.  Design guidelines allow a city to implement certain standards for development that create a certain character or look as well as improve functionality of the built environment. They also help us to build in sustainability.


Incorporating the Principles into Plans

Master plans are tools to visualize a new development or the redevelopment of an area. The formation of a master plan is guided by experts and stakeholders who have a vested interest in the community’s future.  Scopes of study for these plans can be in the form of a corridor such as the City’s Davie Boulevard Corridor Master Plan or a city district such as the Central Beach Master Plan.  Master plans are comprehensive in nature and usually take into consideration the existing conditions of the project site including the population, housing, transportation network, land use, economic conditions, and so on with the purpose of making recommendations for strategies for future growth and development. Therefore, the Master Plan is the perfect place to incorporate long-term resilience issues and implementation of changes to support sustainable living. Visit Planning Initiatives to see descriptions and get online access to the Fort Lauderdale'’s master plans.

Implementing the Principles Together

When the four principles of sustainable development come together, they produce policies with the power-- power to significantly lower GHGs. An example of this is Transit Oriented Development (TOD).

TOD is the integration of land use and transit by creating compact, walkable, mixed-use communities within a short distance of a transit stop or station.  It brings together people, jobs, housing and services and is designed in a way that makes it efficient, safe, and convenient to travel on foot or by bicycle, by transit, or partially by car.

TOD promotes density and mixed use by advocating multi-modal transit centers and making living in the city a logical choice. It creates spaces of value by co-locating ammenities and gathering spaces with the transit centers or stops or even in parking areas. TOD connects places with a variety of mass transit that connects to cycling paths and safe walkways, and in this way it also invites pedestrians.

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