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Fort Lauderdale’s Sewage Situation

Fake News, Knee Jerk Reactions, Past Leadership Failures, and the Facts You Should Know about Fort Lauderdale’s Infrastructure

We are knee-deep in crap! And, no, we aren’t talking about the sewage spill in Rio Vista. We’re referring to the fake news and false information being spread as a result of the sewage break.

Anyone who claims that downtown development is responsible for our damaged and deteriorating sewage system is trying to fool you. They want you to believe that downtown development is the cause and that the solution is a development moratorium. Don’t buy into it! These people want you to place the blame on the progress our city is making when in truth, it’s been a 75-year problem in the making.

It amazes us to read comments in the newspaper by multi-term commissioner Aurelius, and a two-decade Mayor Naugle who claim that the pipes have been old and worn since the 1990s when they were in office, and also claim that it’s the fault of new downtown residential buildings, most of which didn’t even exist before 2014. The fact is, this problem should have been addressed during their tenure.

We can’t turn back the clock but we can move forward in a way that is both smart and effective. In order to do that, we need to keep the facts straight. There’s no reason to panic and make a rash decision that will reverse all of the progress we’ve made in recent years.

Below are the facts that no one is talking about:

Broward County Sewage Crisis

FAKE: The breaks are caused by the volume from Downtown Fort Lauderdale:


  1. We are a century-old city. This is a 75-year old problem in the making. This was caused by failure to maintain and replace by past city commissions. Our aging sewage infrastructure has been at risk for decades.
  2. For decades our city’s elected officials voted to keep property tax rates low and instead diverted tens of millions of dollars each year from our sewage system to the general fund.
  3. If the problem existed 30 years ago how could it be a side-effect of downtown development, of which the majority of new buildings didn’t even exist before 2014?
  4. Fort Lauderdale treats wastewater for the residents and businesses in Wilton Manors, Port Everglades, and parts of Oakland Park, Dania Beach, Davie and Tamarac, well over 180,000 residents and the many businesses in Fort Lauderdale.
  5. Since 2010, the new projects in Downtown have accounted for 2,480 new households vs 180,000 total customers.
  6. The average household size in Downtown is 1.77 vs. the rest of Fort Lauderdale at 2.37. So the rest of the city produces 25% more waste per household than Downtown, making compact vertical development a more efficient smart growth approach.
  7. Downtown residents account for less than 1.5% of the total volume of waste on our system. 
  8. Age and years of failure by prior city commissions to maintain and replace the sewer pipes caused the issue. For decades, our city’s elected officials have voted to keep property tax millage rates down. Basically, the reserves for replacement of our sewer system was essentially swapped out for lower tax bills.
  9. Major rain events have the greatest impact on wastewater capacity and sewer pipe integrity than new development does. Pipes are not cracking because more sewage is being pumped into them. They begin to fail when massive amounts of groundwater flows into existing cracks in the pipes. The City is improving 41 miles of sewer main lines by September 2020 to address rainwater infiltration.


As we move successfully forward past this immediate issue to future resiliency, climate change and sustainability issues, vertical growth is one of the smartest solutions. It’s a matter of consolidation versus sprawl.

  1. Within the streets of the city, the average apartment in a 200 unit apartment building accounts for 6 inches of sewer pipes per household, while the average single-family home accounts for 40 feet of sewer pipe. Almost 80 times more infrastructure per single family.
  2. 200 single family homes water 200 lawns. A vertical 200-unit apartment building waters one.
  3. 200 single family homes fill 200 pools. A vertical 200-unit apartment fills one.

With sea level rising, how many hundreds of billions of dollars will it cost to mitigate for low lying single-family homes? How many miles of sea walls will have to be raised? Pumps to move water? Vertical housing, raised streets, beach berms, sea walls… the world will look very different in the near future. Who will they blame for that? Compact vertical multi-family housing is forward thinking. It’s smart growth. It’s part of the big picture!

The Benefits of High-Rise Development in Fort Lauderdale

The Conclusion

Too often in crisis situations such as this the target is developers. And what does that mean?

A city-wide moratorium would affect more than just developers. It would impact everyday people trying to make a living for their families who work for local builders, architects, engineers, drywallers, electricians, plumbers, air conditioning installers, secretaries, administrators, estimators, managers, and on and on and on. These are real people who live locally and who could lose their jobs if local companies lose substantial or all of their business due to a stop in construction citywide. Is that really what we as a community want? Or should we focus on fixing the pipes as quickly and as effectively as possible, without wasting time on arguing over an unreasonable solution that doesn’t actually fix anything.

So, before you start pointing blame, taking sides, and making rash decisions, take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

  1. Our infrastructure problem exists
  2. There is only one viable solution
  3. It will cost our city approximately $1.4 billion over 20 years
  4. Downtown developments are paying more than 3 times their share of the problem through impact fees alone
  5. Downtown development accounts for less than 1.5% of total volume of wastewater

Don’t allow your outlook to be manipulated simply because you’re disgusted by the situation. We’re disgusted, too. But know that there is a sensible way of handling this situation and a development moratorium is not part of that solution.

We need to Go Big and Go Fast. Any discussions other than how we can fix the problem quickly and efficiently is a waste of time.

How And Where To Support Local Businesses on Black Friday

(And Still Get A Deal)

How And Where To Support Local Businesses on Black Friday

Did you know that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not purely about the savings?

Sure, the deals are fantastic and definitely cause for shopping. But what if we told you there is a way you could get the deal and still support small, local businesses?

Supporting local during your holiday shopping extravaganza is a great way to stimulate our economy and prop up small businesses that make our community thrive. In a way, this will also add sentimental value to the presents you gift to friends and family since they come directly from the people in your hometown.

This Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consider taking your holiday shopping to these boutiques, vendors, and small businesses that are unique to Fort Lauderdale.

Komuso Design

How And Where To Support Local Businesses on Black Friday

This small, online business was started by two locals residing in the FATVillage arts district. Their journey to solve one of society’s most prevalent and distressing conditions led to the creation of their hallmark product, The Shift.

The Shift is a holistic tool that teaches users to harness the power of breathing to reduce stressful triggers and physical symptoms associated with stress and anxiety. It also doubles as a beautiful piece of jewelry. It’s like two gifts in one!

Komuso’s mission to improve the lives of those dealing with stress and anxiety has taken their brand worldwide, however, they still maintain their hometown spirit and love for Fort Lauderdale.

You can join their emailing list to receive discounts for your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, as well as some great tips for surviving the holiday season.


Acacia is an eclectic boutique with a rich ambiance full of South African art and accessories, designer jewelry and unique home decor. They have been a staple in Fort Lauderdale going on ten years! The owner, Siegi Lindsay, is a South-African native and a welcoming presence to be around. She possesses a distinct, worldly style and loves sharing her passion for art with her patrons. In Acacia, every artifact has a story — one that Siegi will happily share with you. This Black Friday, Siegi is showcasing beautiful handmade treasures from around the world. Be sure to stop by and explore her shop in the Gateway Shopping Center. You never know what gems you will find there.

FATVillage Artwalk

How And Where To Support Local Businesses on Black Friday

The last art walk of 2019 is the Saturday after Black Friday. The event will be packed with local vendors selling original art, handmade goods, vintage clothing and more. There are so many options at art walk, you’re bound to find a perfect gift for someone special (yourself included). We’ve also heard buzz that C&I Studios is releasing a new clothing brand, so be sure to stop by the bar Next Door for the details!

If you know of any other local businesses offering Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals follow us on Facebook and comment on our timeline!

3 Ways To Give Back To Your Community

3 Ways To Give Back To Your Community For Thanksgiving

What does community mean to you?

Are we merely a group of people living in the same place and sharing likeminded characteristics and beliefs? Or are we a group of people who care for one another; who want to aid in improving the health of our county and those who call it home?

We believe that the Fort Lauderdale community is the latter.

We are one of the few cities where passersby greet one another cheerfully and where those who are fortunate go above and beyond to help those in need. Our capacity for giving is a hallmark of life in Fort Lauderdale. It has been for a long time.

To properly conclude 2019, we are giving thanks to our community by sharing 3 ways to give back to others.

1. Family Volunteer Opportunities

3 Ways To Give Back To Your Community For Thanksgiving
3 Ways To Give Back To Your Community For Thanksgiving

Doing good for others as a family is a great way to educate our children on the global good that volunteering does. It’s also a fulfilling way to spend time during the holidays and instill strong values in the next generation.

HandOn Broward

HandsOn Broward mobilizes people to help them make effective change in Broward County. Their mission is to transform communities by teaching socially responsible ethics and providing locals hands-on opportunities to make positive impact.

HandsOn Broward plays a part in widespread outreach initiatives such as Habitat for Humanity and also provides locals very specific volunteer opportunities, such as Feeding the Hungry at Jubilee Center. Their volunteer calendar is a great source for those who want to give back to their community this holiday season. If that’s your family, check out these upcoming volunteer opportunities!

2. Food Bank and Clothing Drives

3 Ways To Give Back To Your Community For Thanksgiving
3 Ways To Give Back To Your Community For Thanksgiving

Fort Lauderdale is a thriving community with a strong economy. Many of us live comfortable lifestyles and have the capacity to share our good fortune with others. If you do not have the time to volunteer this holiday season, then consider donating to a food bank or joining a clothing drive.

Holiday feasts are in full swing and many of us are already prepping for the occasion. During your next visit to the market, consider purchasing additional canned goods and non-perishables to donate for someone in need. hosts a Holiday Food Drive this time of year and offers multiple locations throughout Fort Lauderdale and Broward County for you to donate. You can view all of the collection box locations near you, here.

In addition to donating food, donating your unwanted (or new!) clothing is also a generous way of giving back. Aside from traditional clothing drop locations, such as Salvation Army, there is a very convenient drop box in Victoria Park. All you have to do is package your unwanted or new clothing in plastic bags and visit the dropbox on NE 9th Avenue on the west side of Virginia Shuman Young Elementary School.

3. Charitable Giving

3 Ways To Give Back To Your Community For Thanksgiving

Every day our community faces issues that matter. These extend far beyond volunteering and donating. This holiday season, you can benefit worthy causes with a small charitable donation.

Community Foundation of Broward connects donors with causes that foster positive growth for future generations to thrive. If you have a cause that you would like to donate to, they will put you in touch with the foundation or organization where your charitable giving will have the greatest impact.

There is nothing too big or too small that your contributions will not benefit. Whether it be animal welfare, arts in the community, or ecosystem defense, your involvement will create positive ripples through Fort Lauderdale and Broward County.

If you know of any other volunteer or donation opportunities in Broward County, we’d love for you to share your insights! Follow us on Facebook and comment on our timeline with your favorite ways of giving back! When our community is joined under a common cause, we are capable of doing incredible things.

The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

[According to the locals]

We’ve checked the online reviews, listened to the word of mouth recommendations, and respected the social media shoutouts. According to the locals, these are the best bars, restaurants, and cultural centers in downtown Fort Lauderdale.



The best bars and restaurants in downtown fort lauderdale

YOLO is a long-loved staple in Fort Lauderdale, offering a new-age, American style dining experience. It is a foodie’s paradise and socialites playground, infamous for happy hours, Sunday brunch, a welcoming courtyard lounge with an open fire pit, and an outdoor garden patio.

“YOLO is a super fun place to go for Lunch, Dinner, After-work Drinks, on a date, or with a group of friends or family. With plenty of outdoor space, and usually live music, and indoor space under air conditioning, YOLO suits parties large and small. I’ve been there several times for happy hour and dinner, and enjoy the place as a favorite Las Olas destination.” — 5 Star Review on TripAdvisor

2. Louie Bossi’s

The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale
The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

Louie Bossi’s is Las Olas’s Italian stunner. You won’t find a more diverse selection of fine Italian recipes any place else in the area. They make all their pasta in-house and put modern spins on traditional dishes. They have an incredible 900-degree brick oven for Neapolitan pies, serve high-end charcuterie boards and have a fantastic selection of wines to pair with dinner.

“Consistently good food – stays authentic and true to itself, keeping true Italian roots with its approach to food and the menu. You won’t find many places with polenta as a side, wont find many places that do a carbonara sauce – just two examples. The back patio is enchanting especially when lit up at night. Will keep going as often as I can. Really love it and have never had anything but a good experience.” — 5 Star Review on OpenTable

3. El Camino

The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale
The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

El Camino has quickly risen in the ranks as Las Olas’s favorite Mexican eatery. The food is delicious and authentic, but what really stands out is their unmatched happy hours! Every day from 4-7 PM they serve up $2 tacos, $8 tequila flights, and handcrafted margaritas for only $5. They also feature a late-night happy hour for the night owls who aren’t ready to end the festivities.

“Excellent food, best guac and pico de gallo ever! Wait time was 1.5 hr, but totally worth it…also my niece lost 20$ in there and we went back later and they found it and returned it. Honest people, great food, I recommend the Chile steak fajitas.” — 5 Star Review on Facebook

4. Bombay Darbar

The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

Bombay Darbar features authentic, gourmet Indian Cuisine. Their kitchen uses the very best and freshest ingredients in the making of their near-perfect recipes. Their exotic, upscale decor and phenomenal service and management elevate Bombay Darbar above most restaurants in South Florida.

“I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this place sooner. This is my all time favorite Indian restaurant. The food is so rich and authentic, it is the best in town, without a doubt. I used to frequent this place every Thursday after class as a way to de-stress. Each time I go I receive the best service and my meal is always so painfully good. No really it hurts, I leave there so full! But satisfied, very satisfied.” — 5 Star Review on Yelp

5. Temple Street Eatery

The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale
The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

Temple Street Eatery is an urban, counter-serve Asian fusion restaurant with mastery in dumplings and ramen. Their recipes are bright and uplifting, crafted to enlighten your palate. Trust us, once you visit you’ll be coming back for more. Besides, there is a lot to be said about a restaurant with a 4.5 star average on Google with over 700 reviews.

“1st time here and very impressed! The wings were flavorful! The pork dumplings were steamed and excellent but the wonton ramen was superb! The broth was very good and bok choy was spot on. Shrimp wonton was perfect! I highly recommend it! Next time I am going for pork belly ramen🍜” — 5 Star Review on Google


6. WLO Rooftop

The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

WLO Rooftop is a stellar rooftop bar in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale. Their expert bartenders specialize in concocting craft cocktails with premium spirits. But their true majesty of this urban locale is the stunning city-wide views and pleasantly natural aesthetic of their lounge area.

“Great place. Bartenders were friendly and service was fast. Views were awesome. Weather was good so we enjoyed the rooftop 100%. Good vibe and good music. I can’t wait to go back. Entrance was a little hard to find. but the security guard came out and guided us in. Definitely recommend for those looking for a good vibe with great views.” — 5 Star Review on Google

7. Tarpon River Brewing

The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale
The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

Tarpon River Brewery is a family-friendly neighborhood favorite. Their rotating draft selection of craft beers is reason enough to come back time and again. They have a full food menu with a killer IPA Mac N Cheese Burger and host live music weekly.

“This place is popular enough without my review chiming in, but I really loved my first visit! This is definitely a great spot to bring friends from out of town for a drink. It really showcases the Florida vibe, with a great selection of beers.” — 5 Star Review on Yelp

8. Township

The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale
The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

Township is a German-style pub and sports bar. It is the only bar in Fort Lauderdale serving full litres of beer! They offer a full food menu of German classics, like pretzels and cheese curds. This place is always active on the weekend, especially Saturdays. Locally, it is known as a Florida State University gameday hangout but is a welcoming place for all sports fans.

“I think township is my new favorite go to bar. I came here for the first time last weekend and had a blast on Saturday. Jordan is an awesome bartender, we didn’t have to wait long to order and it was a great crowd and vibe! My friends come here often for ladies night and I’ve been wanting to. Tonight is my First Ladies night and the bartenders have been awesome.” — 5 Star Review on Yelp


9. NSU Art Museum

The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale
The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

The NSU Art Museum is a centerpiece for arts and culture in Fort Lauderdale. Founded in 1958, the art museum has continually perpetuated artistic expression in South Florida.  There are ample exhibits to explore, a large auditorium for live art, educational courses for all, and a cafe to enjoy relaxing moments.

“Great way to spend a couple of hours while in Fort Lauderdale. Our docent was informative and wonderful in every way. She shared her knowledge and engaged us through the entire tour. Lunch at the museum was perfect as well.” — 5 Star Review on Facebook

10. The Broward Center for the Performing Arts

The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is the most expansive cultural institution in the area. It attracts Broadway shows from around the globe and remains a pivotal driver for the arts in the Fort Lauderdale community. Situated along the Riverwalk — a beautiful stretch along the downtown Intercostal waterways, the Broward Center is a fantastic place to visit whether you are attending a show or just enjoying the weather.

“Awesome place for a night out. Easily accessible parking and many restaurants to choose from help make this a great date night location. Today’s show prices make it a pricey night out that we can’t partake in as often as we would prefer but that is fairly typical everywhere. Great acoustics, classy and clean. Well worth the price of admission.” — 5 Star Review on Google

There you have it!

If you’re new to Fort Lauderdale or just visiting, set aside time to visit one (or all) of these great local establishments. We’d love to hear about your experience so drop us a line some time. Happy exploring!

Fort Lauderdale Mythbusters

We’ve been listening to complaints regarding high-rise development, which have been addressed to our downtown civic association and couldn’t help but set the record straight. If you still think development is a “dirty word” then perhaps you’re getting your information from the wrong source.

Traffic congestion, wind tunnels, shading…

One of these pain points is purely fabrication, another over-emphasized, and the third is why developers are building downtown vertically.

Watch the videos below to get the facts.

Having a Vision for Future Generations

[A message to our city’s civic associations]

[Estimated Read Time: 10 Minutes, 30 Seconds]

The Benefits of High-Rise Development in Fort Lauderdale

Downtown development is good for the environment. With an ever-growing world, managing our population requires visionary planning and change.

Suburban sprawl used to be the American dream. It went something like this… Buy a home in a subdivision and raise a family. Live in a neighborhood where everyone has a yard, a pool, and a fleet of automobiles. Live far away from work so as not to blend family life with career.

Back then, everyone wanted their own plot of land out west and they didn’t care at what cost to the environment. City planners needed to lay hundreds of miles of sewage lines and underground infrastructure to support this era of suburban sprawl. Thousands of people had to commute from west to east spanning the length of the county to get to work every day. Land availability became scarce and carbon emissions compounded. Broward County began to run out of land for large tract developments, pricing homes out of reach for the majority of people living here.

Already, suburbia has eaten up precious land at a rate of 2-4 homes per acre. Whereas, a high-rise can have as many as 150 homes per acre with just one lawn and one pool accommodating all residents. In suburbia, 150 homes would amount to 150 pools to fill, 150 lawns to water, and 150-300 vehicles on our roadways (1-2 per household).

Over time, it has become clear that our former living systems are no longer sustainable. The American dream has changed. 

If you look to the future and think about our children, our community should understand the value in managing where people live. Politicians pandering to high-rise residents complaining about high-rise development is not in the best interest of our society as a whole.

If you want to go green and be a part of the solution then you have to think vertically.

The Benefits of High-Rise Development in Fort Lauderdale
Keep reading to learn how high-rise development will improve the quality of life for everyone living and working in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

As Fort Lauderdale continues to emerge as a more active and vibrant South Florida community, the pressure for urban planners to design suitable accommodations increases. The density of buildings, traffic, the scarcity of land, and the competitive spirit among developers are all factors that encourage city planners to push buildings higher.

It is common for developing cities, like Fort Lauderdale, to experience growing pains (especially regarding the perspective of some community members and perception of what development implies). But we should trust that as our landscape evolves, so will our means of implementing solutions to the challenges we face today.

These are the 3 most outspoken concerns from some Fort Lauderdale residents (in regards to high-rise development in downtown):

  • Traffic
  • Wind Tunnels
  • Sewage

The Implications of Halting Downtown Development

We believe the concerns of ALL Fort Lauderdale residents should be present in local decision making, not just those who live in a high-rise in downtown and believe that progress should stop at their front door; that once they have their slice of paradise, enough is enough. That is why Big Picture Broward got its start.

We don’t believe that we can solve our city’s current infrastructure and mobility needs by halting progress in downtown. Rather, we envision a more prosperous city center and more interconnected county by allowing inevitable growth to happen in the correct places.

Fort Lauderdale is in the international limelight.

Urban migration will not slow down. It is estimated that approximately 20,000 new residents are moving to Broward County annually. According to a Downtown Fort Lauderdale Population Demographics by Point 2 Homes, 1.77% of people living downtown moved from abroad; 15.11% moved from the same country; 4.1% from the same state; and 2.62% from out of state.

Fort Lauderdale is becoming an epicenter for arts, culture, cuisine, nightlife, industry, and more. A thriving economy, such as ours, is bound to gain national and international attention. This surge in cultural and social amenities and new business opportunities means that more and more people (whether they live, visit or commute) will be utilizing downtown daily. We have to properly build out the core of our city to accommodate this influx. By doing so, our community will thrive.

1. Traffic

Traffic is inevitable but it is not unsolvable. Nor is it debilitating, like other major cities in America. Additionally, with the success of the Penny Sales Tax, which will generate billions for traffic and mobility infrastructure over the next 30 years, our means of solving these issues will improve drastically.

When it comes to the major causes of traffic congestion, citizens who live, play and work in the same area are not the culprits. It is people who need to commute to go to work and access their favorite community amenities. Why? Because they are more inclined to use Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), like Uber and Lyft or drive alone. According to the Fort Lauderdale census reporter, the two primary means of transportation to work are driving alone (78%) and carpooling services (8%).

A newly published study in the journal of Science Advances shows that the major contributor to traffic congestion in San Fransisco (the 8th most congested city in the U.S.) is ride-sharing services. From 2010 to 2016, traffic congestion in San Fransisco increased by roughly 62%. Half of that increase was caused by Uber and Lyft.

Furthermore, a comprehensive review of dozens of studies, published by the Urban Land Institute, uncovered that since 1980, the number of miles Americans drive has grown three times faster than the population and almost twice as fast as vehicle registrations. The researchers conclude that one of the best ways to reduce carbon emission is to build compact places where people can accomplish more with less driving (Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat of the 21st Century: A Global Perspective).

If we keep downtown development (especially residential development) central to downtown for the duration of this building boom then we can limit the number of people navigating our roadways. More people will live in downtown, work in downtown, and socialize in downtown. They will, therefore, be more inclined to walk to their favorite coffee shop, ride a bike to NSU Art Museum, or scooter to the Brightline for their commute to Miami. The same rationale applies to visitors staying in a downtown hotel, like the Dal Mar.

However, if our downtown halts development, the population will continue to grow and investment will be inclined to develop in fringe areas, like the surrounding neighborhoods in Wilton Manor, Coral Ridge, Riverside, Rio Vista and so on. The residential paradigm will shift and citizens living in Fort Lauderdale and working/socializing in downtown will need to commute via automobile rather than a transportation alternative, thus congesting downtown.

2. Wind Tunnels

In regards to urban planning, the comfort and safety wind speed criteria were established based on research findings dating from the 1970s and 1980s that empirically examined the mechanical effect of wind on people’s acceptable range of comfort and safety. They require that new buildings and additions to existing buildings should not cause ground-level wind currents to exceed on a year-round basis the comfort level of 11 mph equivalent wind speed in areas of pedestrian use and 7 mph in areas with public seating.

According to Sage Journals’ Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science, “in 1985, San Francisco became one of the first cities in North America to adopt a downtown plan on ground-level wind currents, supplemented by planning codes. The intention has been to mitigate the adverse effects of wind on pedestrians by securing acceptable comfort in areas of public seating and walking (City and County of San Francisco, 1985). The plan focuses on the downtown area and four additional parts of the city, all associated with high density or development potential and substantial pedestrian activities.”

Furthermore, “A number of planners (Bosselmann, 1998Gehl, 2010Gehl and Svarre, 2013Loukaitou-Sideris and Banerjee, 1993Marcus and Francis, 1998Punter, 1999) and building scientists and urban climatologists (Brown and DeKay, 2001Donn, 2011) noted the significance of the plan in promoting more comfortable public spaces…”

This plan has since been adopted in other North America cities notable for high wind speeds, becoming a guide for urban planning nationwide.

Fort Lauderdale Wind Speed Ratio

The wind speed ratio in Fort Lauderdale does not even come close to other cities in North America. Typically, October is our windiest month, with just 5mph winds (World Weather & Climate Information). With an average annual wind speed of 3.9mph, it is unlikely that downtown development would cause wind speeds to rise above an uncomfortable level for pedestrians.

Therefore, concerns of wind tunnels in downtown Fort Lauderdale—especially without any empirical data suggesting they would rise above an uncomfortable level for pedestrians—should not encourage the downtown civic association to oppose high-rise developments.

3. Sewage/Infrastructure

The Benefits of High-Rise Development in Fort Lauderdale

Sustainability promotes compact urban design. It makes sense for city planners to build downtown Fort Lauderdale up. Tall buildings preserve land for more sustainable use, such as farming, renewable energy applications (solar power farms), recreational space and places of natural beauty. All of which are critical to our environment and quality of life.

Yes, tall buildings do require an abundance of energy for operations and utilities. The immediate strain on infrastructure can be a challenge for residents. However, that is only in the short term. Longterm, high-rise development will benefit our city greatly. It will be the taxes generated from these buildings that will help pay for many of the solutions.

It’s true, Fort Lauderdale has sewage needs. But these cracking pipes are 100 years in the making. Most of the breaks, if not all, were outside of the downtown core. Why? Because downtown’s infrastructure is newer. Last year, the city commission voted 4 to 1 in favor of borrowing $200 million to fix the worst parts of the failing water-sewer system: The New River, NE 25th Avenue, NE 38th Street and Las Olas, to name a few. Over the next five years, Fort Lauderdale should complete $460 million in utilities work rebuilding these pipes. It’s like replacing pipes in an old home. Don’t blame a newly renovated kitchen for the cracked pipes in an old bathroom.

If we all think progressively—think about what will benefit future generations—then high-rise development is essential to the longevity and prosperity of our city and quality of life. The consolidation of high-rises requires less linear feet of underground infrastructure which makes repairs and future replacements less costly and less messy.

According to Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat of the 21st Century: A Global Perspective, an article published by the University of Illinois School of Architecture, “By and large, vertically configured buildings facilitate more efficient infrastructure. Simply put, a 500-unit single-family subdivision requires many more roads, sidewalks, sewers, hydro lines, power and gas lines, light standards, fire hydrants, etc., than that of a tall building, which allows integrating these systems efficiently in a dense manner. Therefore, tall buildings can play an important role in creating sustainable cities.”

4. Affordability

The Benefits of High-Rise Development in Fort Lauderdale

The simple rule of supply and demand dictates that if we stop building housing units, then due to lack of supply and ever-growing demand, prices will go up. Between 2002 to 2008 the Fort Lauderdale City Commission slowed growth in order to develop a downtown masterplan. While a nationwide boom was happening, Fort Lauderdale was in a stall and Miami was growing rapidly. Today Miami has significantly more affordable rents in their downtown, and Fort Lauderdale is one of the least affordable places for workers to live.

Based on the lack of available subsidy funds, and the demand for affordable housing, restricting development in the densest areas is counterproductive and yet the city commission, the chamber of commerce, and many business associations have made workforce housing and affordability a number one priority.

5. I’m losing my view!

The Benefits of High-Rise Development in Fort Lauderdale

This may be the real culprit of the myriad of reasons why some argue to stop development. More than once, we have heard a downtown resident in an association meeting complain about other new buildings blocking their existing view. It astounds us when someone buys into the vibrancy of downtown, moves into a high rise building and then complains when the neighboring high rise blocks their original view. It is an absolutely selfish statement and is a reflection of people who have no true concern for smart-growth or future generations. Anyone who lives in a high rise should not be complaining about the development of high rises!


We should not expect our political leaders to be visionaries. But we should demand that they honestly look to the future and help navigate our planning processes based on facts and the best interests of all.

To move towards the future—to create a great city that truly benefits everyone—we must cultivate this era of downtown growth while we have such empowering momentum on our side.

This is The Big Picture.

Fort Lauderdale Knows How To Celebrate Father’s Day

“In the homes of our Nation, we look to the fathers to provide the strength and stability which characterize the successful family. If the father’s responsibilities are many, his rewards are also great — the love, appreciation, and respect of children and spouse.”

— President Lyndon B. Johnson

There’s no better way to show Dad how much you love him than by treating him to a fun outing in Fort Lauderdale. Below are some great options for your Father’s Day celebration this Sunday.

1. YOLO Brunch

Father's Day Brunch at YOLO, anyone?

You only brunch once… a year for Father’s Day! Take Dad to his favorite downtown Los Olas eatery for a special Father’s Day brunch at YOLO. From there, we have a list of even more places that Dad will love.

Reserve a table.

2. Tarpon River Brewing

Tarpon River Brewing - Best Breweries of Fort Lauderdale
photo by Tarpon River Brewing

If Dad loves delicious craft beer, then head to Tarpon River Brewing this Sunday. But don’t show up wearing any old outfit… If you want to treat dad to a free flight of beer at the brewery then you have to wear matching outfits. Talk about a father-daughter / father-son lookalike!

There will also be a Father’s Day package for $50 so be sure to talk to your bartender!

Check out the event details.

3. LauderAle Brewing

photo by LauderAle Brewery

After Dad downs his free beer flight at Tarpon River Brewing, there’s only one other logical place to go… LauderAle Brewing is hosting a Father’s Day car show with 20-minute beer tours all day Sunday. If Dad drives a classic or custom ride then pull up in style for 10% off all day long and a chance to win a $25 gift card to LauderAle Brewing.

Check it out!

4. Bonnet House

Historic Designation vs Historic Preservation
Step back in history at the Bonnet House.

If Dad is a sucker for art and culture, then Bonnet House is the place to be. Bonnet House Museum & Gardens want families to step back in time this Father’s Day to experience life as it was in the 30s and 40s (before Father’s Day was even a nationally recognized holiday!).

Dads get in free with one paid adult admission. Click here for more info.

5. Xtreme Action Park

If Dad is an action junky then head to Xtreme Action Park for an adrenaline fueled driving lesson. This Sunday, Dads race free from 10 AM to 10 PM! There is a catch, however… You have to bring the kids! The last one to cross the finish line buys dinner!

Learn more here.

What do you think our city needs: a beautiful community park or a new Federal courthouse?

[Estimated Read Time: 3 Minutes]

If you agree that the city-owned land known locally as the ‘One Stop Shop’ should be transformed into a city park, then click here. Below is an email template you may use to email your City Commissioners in a show of support.

What will the Fort Lauderdale City Commission do with the One Stop Shop?

There has been a lot of discussion regarding what to do with the vacant real estate known locally as the ‘One Stop Shop.’

Located east of the railroad tracks just off Andrews Avenue and NW 2nd Street, this valuable piece of real estate that borders Flagler Village in downtown Fort Lauderdale makes the ideal welcoming mat for Brightline passengers, Flagler Village residents and pedestrians alike.

So, what exactly should the people of Fort Lauderdale do with this jewel?

Though the Fort Lauderdale City Commission will decide the fate of the One Stop Shop, it is our responsibility as citizens to guide them towards the best decision; a decision that will benefit the community and improve the quality of life for those who live here.

As part of a developing downtown, it is important that city planners balance architecture with public green spaces. And, given that the One Stop Shop is literally the last significant downtown city-owned parcel that could be used for a beautiful city park, we believe it is the responsibility of the City Commission to protect this natural asset, and not squander such a valuable resource on brick and mortar.

The existing Federal Courthouse is located on Broward Blvd. and NE 3rd Avenue. It is a draw for lawyers and clients, court reporters and judges. Therefore, shouldn’t a new Federal Courthouse building be a part of the judicial district on the south side of the New River, within walking distance of the Broward County Courthouse? This would make much more sense than placing it in the heart of our downtown neighborhoods.

It is incumbent upon our community leaders to deliver a suitable site for the Federal Courthouse and save our city property for the good of the community.

Keep reading to learn more about why the One Stop Shop in Flagler Village would make the ideal community park.

What will the Fort Lauderdale City Commission do with the One Stop Shop?
The One Stop Shop already exists as an "open canvas community project." Since declaring it as such, the community has banned together to beautify the space with amazing street art.
What will the Fort Lauderdale City Commission do with the One Stop Shop?
The contrast of healthy foliage and colorful street art is a big draw to pedestrians, locals, and visitors. Wynwood Miami is a great example of the power of compelling street art and how it brings value to a community.

The benefits of converting the One Stop Shop into a city park.

Quality green space is an essential piece of any growing urban landscape. It provides families and residents a communal place of gathering, which is directly linked to improved quality of life. Studies show that spending just 20 minutes in a city park, whether exercising or relaxing, greatly improves one’s mental health and overall well being. These positive effects are even more beneficial to young people, as outdoor activity and recreation in public parks reduce the risk for mental health conditions such as depression.

A city park in replace of the One Stop Shop will also be a beautiful welcoming mat to Brightline passengers. This will encourage pedestrian movement to and from Flagler Village and the FATVillage arts district. And with the ongoing FATVillage art walk on the last Saturday of the month, this space would be even more valuable, as it would create a safer pedestrian connection between Flagler Village, downtown Fort Lauderdale, and neighboring residences.

Furthermore, with quality green space in proximity to neighboring residential complexes, new businesses will come to the area. With increased access to community amenities such as coffee shops, retail, restaurants and so on, Flagler Village will become another outstanding centerpiece to Fort Lauderdale’s improved landscape.


With the approval of the recent $200 million Fort Lauderdale Parks Bonds, the ability to transform this space into a community park is more available than ever before. Not only will a city park enhance the livability of Flagler Village and the surrounding neighborhoods, but it will also attract businesses to the area and connect core parts of the downtown sphere via safe and walkable routes.

What will the Fort Lauderdale City Commission do with the One Stop Shop?
Picture a pavilion with picnic benches and other communal lounge spaces for families, Flagler Village residents, and Brightline passengers to enjoy.

Contact your city commissioners.

Green space is what our city needs and it is not something we can get back once it is taken away from us. We need to encourage the City Commission to maintain this jewel in the hands of the people. Over the years, a community park will generate more value to the locals and add to the tropical beauty that is Fort Lauderdale.

We urge you to email your City Commissioners to show them that the majority of the citizens desire this city-owned property be transformed into a city park. Below is a template that you can copy and past or adapt into a personal email. This will only take a minute of your time but will have lasting effects on our community and the happiness of our children.


To the Fort Lauderdale City Commission,

I am a Fort Lauderdale local and avid proponent of beautifying our city. There has been recent discussion regarding the future of the ‘One Stop Shop’ on Andrews Avenue in Flagler Village, and I feel it is my responsibility to urge you all to consider dedicating the property for the purpose of enhancing our quality of life. A brand new city park in that location will have lasting, positive effects on downtown and become a great addition to Flagler Village.

This is a large and significant remaining green space in the downtown core and is essential for balancing architecture with nature. As the elected leaders of our great city, it should be your duty to protect our natural resources for the enjoyment of our citizens.

Thank you for your time.

— A Concerned Citizen


How Our Community Is Keeping Fort Lauderdale Beautiful For Earth Month

[Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes]

How locals are keeping Fort Lauderdale Beautiful For Earth Month

Happy Earth Month, Fort Lauderdale!

April 2019 is the 49th anniversary of Earth Month and people from all over the world are playing their part to clean up waste and beautify their local areas.

This month’s theme is “Plastic… More Than Pollution,” to focalize global concerns on the damaging effects of single-use plastic waste. In 2018, it was revealed that:

  • Humans buy about 1,000,000 plastic bottles per minute in total.
  • Only about 23% of plastic bottles are recycled within the U.S.
  • More than half a billion plastic straws are used every day around the world.
  • About one trillion single-use plastic bags are used annually around the world.

You can read up on the full page of facts regarding single-use plastic waste here. Suffice to say, you too will see how essential it is that we band together to reduce the prevalence of single-use plastic.

If we are to convince industries worldwide to implement more environmentally conscious materials into their business models then we must first implement these lifestyle changes into our everyday routines. It’s as easy as declining a straw at a restaurant or not ordering your meal to-go.

In addition to Earth Month initiatives, on April 22nd, we will celebrate Earth Day. This year’s theme is “Protect Our Species.” For the most part, we all know about the declining bee populations and the effects that will have on nature in the coming decade. That’s just one core area of concern, however. In the new Netflix show, Our Planet, narrator David Attenborough explains how humanity has wiped out roughly 60% of the global animal population since 1970. Depressing, we know. But extremely important, nonetheless.

The damage that human activity has had on the ecosystem in the last 40 years is a key concern globally. This topic dominates political discussions on climate change and has rallied global activist groups working hard to preserve and nurse animal populations back to their once thriving status.

The “Plastic… More Than Pollution” and the ‘Protect Our Species” initiatives for Earth Month and Earth Day share one central theme: that humanity needs to be more environmentally conscious if we are to reverse the damage inflicted on our planet over the last 4 decades. But what can we do to help on a local level?

Already swaths of neighborhoods are doing their part. On social media, the #trashtag challenge has gone viral, which shows groups of youth, teens, and adults cleaning up trash alongside roadways, inside parks, up and down beaches and anywhere that litter is ruining the landscape. We love this trend. If you do too, keep reading!

Below are 3 easy ways you can get involved in Earth Month and how we can all do our part to save our planet.

1. Recycling

How locals are keeping Fort Lauderdale Beautiful For Earth Month
How locals are keeping Fort Lauderdale beautiful for Earth Month

It’s easy. So why don’t more people participate in daily recycling?

If you live in any of the high-rises, new or old apartment complexes around Fort Lauderdale then chances are they have recycling integrated into the infrastructure. Some have trash chutes specifically designed for recycling. Others put recycling bins on the ground floor (often by the leasing office or first floor of a parking garage). Use them. It’s an easy solution to cutting down on the plastic waste in circulation.

If you do not live in a residential building then you surely know of Fort Lauderdale’s “Mix it. Curb it.” program.

Mix it. Curb it. is the City of Fort Lauderdale’s single-stream recycling program. Single-stream recycling is a process where clean recyclable materials are collected together in one container. This means you can mix steel, aluminum, plastic and glass food and beverage containers, paper, cardboard, and other accepted recyclable materials together without sorting them into separate carts or bins.

Here is a list of all the materials that can be recycled through Mix it. Curb it.:

  • Plastic containers with a narrow neck such as water bottles, milk jugs, shampoo containers, etc.
  • Aseptic/paperboard containers such as juice and wine cartons, drink boxes, milk cartons, frozen food packaging, dry food boxes, etc.
  • Glass food and beverage containers
  • Metal cans and lids
  • Pizza boxes, free of grease spots and food particles
  • Paper (such as junk mail, inserts, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, soft cover books, paper grocery bags), office paper, and any paper that tears
  • Shredded paper in paper bags (not plastic bags)
  • Cut/flattened cardboard no larger than 4 feet x 2 feet

To add Mix it. Curb it. To your household or for more facts on the program, click here.

2. Local Cleanups

How locals are keeping Fort Lauderdale Beautiful For Earth Month
How locals are keeping Fort Lauderdale beautiful for Earth Month

Fort Lauderdale’s waterways and canals are some of the cleanest in the nation because they get regular attention from the community.

If you want to get involved in beach or waterway cleanups there are many outstanding groups doing their part to keep our environment clean.

You can join a local cleanup here. Just select your area and radius and you’re in.

You can join the local Facebook group Beach Sweep, which is a great community initiative that has been keeping our beaches trash-free since 2015.

To everyone who has already been participating: great work!

3. Ecotourism

How locals are keeping Fort Lauderdale beautiful for Earth Month
How locals are keeping Fort Lauderdale beautiful for Earth Month

Turns out we live in a very active city. According to the City of Fort Lauderdale, there are over 100 city parks, green entranceways, public plazas, civic centers and more in the local area. Not to mention our famous beaches, which attract scores of families and outdoor enthusiasts every single day.

Next time you embark on a daily outing to one of our great parks (perhaps for a #trashtag cleanup) consider using Broward Breeze or AvMed — dockless bike sharing programs — or one of the scooter sharing services. Any way we can cut down on carbon emissions and remove cars from our roadways will have a positive effect on our landscape.

We would love to see how you all are getting involved this Earth Month and Earth Day (April 22nd).

How locals are keeping Fort Lauderdale beautiful for Earth Month
How locals are keeping Fort Lauderdale beautiful for Earth Month

Like us on Facebook to share your adventures and inspire others to get involved and clean up our beautiful city.

If you know of any cleanup events planned for April, please leave us a comment here or on Facebook so we can spread the word!

Happy Earth Month!

Fort Lauderdale: A Story In Progress

Exclusive Q&A Event with Fort Lauderdale’s Leading Entrepreneurs.

[Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes 30 Seconds]

Free Business Event In Fort Lauderdale

Our city is changing. For the better. And as planned.

All of the positive growth in recent years has transformed Fort Lauderdale into one of the most attractive destinations in South Florida, according to several destination websites in the US.

With the success of the recent Fort Lauderdale Public Safety Bond and Parks Bond, we can also expect some added quality of life support systems as growth continues.

To gain perspective on what our city is capable of becoming, we must look to the past to learn from where it started. Over the last several decades, community leaders discussed, met, and planned for the future to create what many now call home.

For those who are new to Fort Lauderdale, it wasn’t that long ago that Fort Lauderdale was a place designed for retirees and for college kids to spend their spring break. You could count the number of quality restaurants or fun night spots on one hand. For the young professional wanting to start a career or a place to put down roots, Atlanta, New York, and LA were much easier choices.

Except for its fantastic weather, Downtown Fort Lauderdale had very little going on. It was dying and in need of life support.

In Broward County, suburban sprawl was on fire, while downtown was lifeless. In the early 1980’s only one high rise office tower made up the skyline and no one lived in Downtown, no one studied in Downtown, no one went to Broadway shows, no one went to world-class museums, and no one dined or enjoyed a beer in Downtown.

Flagler Village was deteriorated and blighted. Drug deals, prostitution, and crime ruled the landscape.

Free Business Event In Fort Lauderdale
FATVillage has emerged as one of the newest and most stimulated hubs for the arts in Fort Lauderdale.

Fortunately, a driven group of entrepreneurs who grew up and started their careers in Fort Lauderdale acted on their vision.

There was a concerted effort to bring many of the things that made other places great, so Fort Lauderdale and specifically Downtown would be attractive to young people who might choose to stay and participate in a renewed lifestyle and create a thriving cultural scene for the area.

Several of those visionaries are:

  • Tim Petrillo – Co-Founder & CEO, The Restaurant People
  • Alan Hooper – Founder & President, Hooper Construction
  • Robert Lochrie III – Partner, Lochrie & Chakras PA
  • Steve Hudson – President, Hudson Capital Group

20 years ago Fort Lauderdale was in serious need of a makeover.

It was an incremental process that included many of the usual suspects meeting and discussing ways to effectuate positive growth. To create a downtown and beaches that would be one day described as “world class.”

Transformation required a lot of planning, investing and progressive thinking.

These guys did not want to develop Fort Lauderdale for the sake of development or money. They were driven by delivering things what would make Fort Lauderdale fun to live in.

They wanted to make their hometown a place that other people would want to live, visit, work, and play. It was driven by a desire to broaden the quality of life for everyone.

Free Business Event In Fort Lauderdale

That was the turning point.

It is why people want to move here. It is a place that is finally centered around culture, lifestyle, the arts and shared public spaces.

It is why people from all over the world are traveling to Fort Lauderdale and why people from all over the U.S. are migrating here every year.

Join us for our exclusive Q&A event – Fort Lauderdale: A Story In Progress

On Tuesday, April 9th from 7 PM – 9 PM, we are hosting Tim Petrillo, Alan Hooper, Robert Lochrie III, and Steve Hudson for a Q&A to discuss their early business ventures and the future of development in Fort Lauderdale.

It doesn’t matter if you are a realtor, brewer, mural artist, restauranteur, entrepreneur, tech startup, lawyer or anything in between. This is a chance to learn from the guys who have been where you are and have invested their careers into growing downtown businesses and integrating diversity and culture in various ways.

Why is this information so valuable?

First, with all of the changes taking place in downtown Fort Lauderdale and beyond, there comes an opportunity for established and emerging professionals to participate. Learning from those who have “been in your shoes,” is a great starting point.

Secondly, if we are to continue this trend of positive urbanization, young locals need to participate in their future to fulfill a vision that benefits everyone living and working in Broward County. The vision that our panel has acted on, and has proven to benefit everyone, so let’s improve upon that!

Fort Lauderdale: A Story In Progress is a rare opportunity to gain first-hand insights on the history of Fort Lauderdale and how collective decisions gradually initiated a new era of positive change and policy making.

Our panel will also share insights on upcoming ventures and opportunities that will further shape our landscape, so if you have intentions of taking action to make an impact in your community, you won’t want to miss this!

Free Business Event In Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale: A Story In Progress

Event: Networking / Q&A Panel

Date: Tuesday, April 9th from 7 PM – 9 PM

Location: C&I Studios, 541 NW 1st Ave Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

Price: FREE

Free Food provided by local vendors. Craft beer and cocktails available from Next Door at C&I.

RSVP for FREE via Eventbrite to reserve your ticket.