Having defined community and argued for its importance, let’s go the next step and take a look around east Broward (for starters) and see if we can find some areas that might be good candidates for creating community, assuming that communities do not already exist there.
Population densities are different in South Florida than they are in many other places. Broward County didn’t really develop in earnest until after the Second World War – the 50s and 60s east of I-95, and even later west of the interstate. Cheap energy and the automobile fostered growth; public transportation was an afterthought, walkability was rarely considered.
Of course recent developments have brought new ideas to the table. The notion of some degree of a town core is desirable, and having services within reasonable walking (or electric vehicle) distance is a positive attribute.
So when I think about the quest for community, the two places I would start would be the websites publix.com and walkscore.com. As the ubiquitous grocery chain in Florida, Publix is a familiar stop for most residents and many people would like to live close to one. Walkscore.com is a neat site where you can plug in any address and get a score for that location’s walkability from 0 to 100 – a rank of how many of your typical errands could be done on foot.
Now of course there are three or four months here where you would not be advised to walk too far except perhaps early in the morning, certainly not without consulting a health professional. Yet those 3-4 months would prove to be the exception, potentially, within an activity core that could develop within a community.
After compiling the information from the Publix and Walkscore sites, we can add information from other sources – for example, the U.S. Census to get population, economic and demographic data. I can then add additional information on the number of single family homes within, say, roughly three-quarters of a mile of that spot, and how pricey (or not) those homes tend to be.
Then as we move forward with the review, we can loop back to that Grant Cardone question with which we began the series: Is buying a single family home to live in yourself a bad idea?
The accompanying table begins the analytical process that we will continue fleshing out over the next several columns. I have identified several Publix stores thoughout East Broward, and placed next to them the Walkscore associated with their locations. The higher the Walkscore, the more activities there are nearby that can be accomplished on foot (as opposed to having to drive there).
I’ve rank ordered them high to low, the higher ones being potentially more desirable as “community cores” as we have discussed. Next time we will take a look at some more data and then dive in a bit deeper.
James Oaksun, Broward's Real Estate Geek(SM), is Broker-Owner of New Realty Concepts in Oakland Park. In addition to having degrees from Dartmouth and Cornell, he is a Graduate of the Realtor Institute (GRI).