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FAU’s Livability Study Aims to Reduce Broward County Carbon Footprint

            FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – (January 4, 2011) – Students and faculty in Florida Atlantic University’s College for Design and Social Inquiry are completing the second in a series of “livability studies” that could dramatically reduce Broward County’s carbon footprint and significantly alter current modes of transportation. 

The “Plantation and Southwest Sunrise Livability Study” began in January 2010 and will be completed in May 2011.  The study is designed to demonstrate how to lower carbon dioxide emissions and improve environmental sustainability by reducing automobile use and investing in alternative modes of transportation.  The student/faculty groups in the schools of urban and regional planning, architecture and social work have analyzed the area, and the end-result projected a future of more than 20 years with improved facilities for walking, bicycling and public transportation.

            With a $155,000 grant from the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization, the FAU groups are making policy recommendations consistent with the livability goals established by the 2035 Broward Long Range Transportation Plan, the basic framework for a system of sustainable transportation in five districts.  FAU urban and regional planning students collected comprehensive data about the study area, including current and future land use, demographics, public transit information and pedestrian infrastructure.

            “Architecture students have experimented with such ideas as creating covered roof terraces and gardens, breezeways and courtyards, and extending garden space,” said Anthony Abbate, AIA, associate professor of architecture and co-principal investigator of the study.  “Having students involved enhances the analysis and possible outcomes, and we’re engaging students in real world issues.”

            Architecture students focused on “bioclimatic design” that integrates the natural, subtropical environment with building design.  They reviewed the proper distance between buildings for ventilation, methods to reduce reliance on electricity and air conditioning, and landscaping that’s integrated with structures to produce shade, as well as allow natural light into buildings. 

            Michele Hawkins, Ph.D., professor and director of the School of Social Work, along with Arlene Kaplan, Ph.D., coordinator of the field education program in the School, led social work students to develop and analyze the results of community surveys that included citizens, business owners and government agencies providing input on future redevelopment activities in their neighborhoods. 

The cities of Sunrise and Plantation, and the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) will create action plans from the study’s recommendations that list projects, assign responsibilities for the projects to cities, the state, the MPO, or private property owners, and identify potential funding sources.
           FAU’s first livability study covered the cities of Coral Springs, Parkland and Coconut Creek.


About Florida Atlantic University:

Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of  Education, the College of  Engineering & Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. For more information, visit .



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