Maintaining affordable housing and smart land use planning in South Florida’s communities is essential in fostering thriving families and neighborhoods. As a primary building block of prosperity, these factors impact the entire population, from very low-income and middle class residents, to upper-middle class and wealthy individuals and families, especially during times of unemployment to economic downturn. Affordable housing is particularly needed for families who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing. In Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, 25 percent of households spend more than half of their incomes on housing costs, giving the region the second highest cost burden in the country (http://www.sun-sentinel.com/business/realestate/fl-housing-cost-burden-20160621-story.html). To cater to the array of needs within our communities, we must strive to provide a diverse mix of housing styles, locations, and costs.
Land use describes the ways in which we utilize, manage, and modify our built and natural environments, including urban development, agriculture, parks, and natural ecosystems, and has an overwhelming impact on a region’s economy, sustainable growth, preservation of natural habitat, and quality of life. Through careful examination of existing conditions and thoughtful planning for the future, South Florida can continue to prosper without sacrificing natural resources or wastefully utilizing developed space.