Mayor Joy Cooper uses holistic planning for quality of life in Hallandale Beach, FL

Hallandale Beach Photo by Hugh Millward via Flickr.

Located on the east coast of Florida between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Hallandale Beach, FL is using holistic planning to create a more livable community for all its residents. Hallandale Beach comprises only 4.4 square miles of land but boasts a population of around 8,000 people per square mile—making it one of the densest cities in Broward County and east Florida.

Mayor Joy Cooper, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is the first elected mayor of Hallandale Beach. During her ten years in office she has worked tirelessly to create the livable and walkable community that her residents desire. Today, three major projects are continuing that legacy: implementation of a form-based code, a major redevelopment of the parks system, and a Complete Streets inventory.

Two months ago, Hallandale Beach adopted a form based code ordinance that will apply to their two central corridors. The ordinance, which creates guidelines for the appearance of buildings, will provide a blueprint for future developers and secure the existing stock of single-family housing. To promote walkability, a height bonus will be given to developers if they agree to liven the street with mixed-use development.

With this form-based code in place, residents will know where to expect development, developers will know where they can build, and the city will benefit from developments that are linked to the urban corridors. “We are trying to focus the development and focus the units along the corridor to promote a livable, walkable community,” says Cooper, “and those design standards are all set within the form-based code.”

In order to balance the growing development, Hallandale Beach is also undergoing a major redevelopment of their parks. The project, voted for by residents and funded by a $58 million bond, was approved last month. It will be completed in three phases. In each phase, four or five parks will be rehabilitated, leading to a total of 13 newly restored parks. Phase one is currently under way and the project is slated to finish by 2020.

The final step in the holistic plan is to finish a Complete Streets inventory. The inventory, which will be finished in June 2015, will assess the streetlights, benches, bus shelters, and bike infrastructure throughout the city. The goal is to create safe streets that link the redeveloped parks to the walkable and livable downtown area.

In addition to these innovative projects, Hallandale Beach is working to attract light rail through a main downtown corridor, and has renewed its commitment to sustainability with a $9 million flood resiliency project and a widespread green building policy. With the form-based code, newly designed parks, and Complete Streets inventory under way, Mayor Cooper is determined to complete the vision her residents have desired for years. As she says, “If you’re truly innovative, ‘No’ is not in your vocabulary.”

Local Leaders Council