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FAU Students Envision A Green, Walkable Future For North Beach Village

Peter Haden
FAU Professor Jeffrey Huber, left, and North Beach Village Resort's Christine Sposa hope plans to redesign North Beach Village come to fruition. April 12, 2017.

Florida Atlantic University School of Architecture is envisioning a green and walkable future for Fort Lauderdale’s North Beach Village.

With the help of two federal grants, FAU students and researchers have been working for more than a year on plans to make the neighborhood more livable — and resilient to climate change.

"Livability is connecting people to other people. It’s not connecting cars to other cars,” said FAU Professor Jeffrey Huber, who headed up the project.

To that end, the team focused on landscape, lighting and seating elements to enhance North Beach Village’s sense of place. And plans to improve walkability by streamlining streets will tie restaurants, cafes and retailers together.

Huber says the whole idea of what a street can be needs to be flipped on its head.

“It’s a garden. It can be a living room. It can be an outdoor playscape," he said. "It does not have to be solely for the function of moving cars from point A and point B.”

Business owners in North Beach Village are excited by FAU’s vision.

Credit Peter Haden / WLRN
F.A.U. architecture students' exhibit, "Botanizing North Beach Village," features plans to re-envision the Fort Lauderdale neighborhood. Village Design Art Gallery, April 12, 2017.

“We saw bigger sidewalks. We saw shade trees. We saw more lighting,” said Christine Sposa, sales and marketing director for North Beach Village Resort. “We’re very excited that some of these items we’ve waited for may now come to fruition.”

This reimagining will also make North Beach Village more adaptable to climate change. Currently, Broward County’s low-lying streets are underwater about 12 days a year due to king-tide flooding.

More vegetation and permeable pavement can minimize the flooding effects.

“Ecological storm water management infrastructure can begin to deal with flood issues, as well as flood-adaptive architecture: living with, on and over water,” Huber said.

The design solutions FAU came up with can be applied to communities throughout South Florida.

“These are all ideas that can be transported elsewhere within the region — and the world,” Huber said.

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