Strategies to Address the Climatic Barriers to Walkable, Transit-Oriented Communities in Florida

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Title: Strategies to Address the Climatic Barriers to Walkable, Transit-Oriented Communities in Florida
Author: DeVeau, Matthew
Abstract: Florida’s explosive population growth in the 20th century can be attributed at least in part to its climate, with abundant sunshine and mild winters offering a preferable alternative to conditions found at more northern latitudes. But ironically, the built environment that accommodated this growth was conceived with climate as an afterthought. In his examination of Broward County in South Florida, architect Anthony Abbate describes how development decisions were driven by the automobile and affordable air conditioning, a pattern that was repeated throughout the state. These technologies have allowed life to occur with little regard to climate. But if communities in Florida wish to become less auto-dependent, climate must take on added importance. Activities such as walking and using public transportation inherently require interaction with the natural environment. In Florida, this could mean exposure to extreme heat, humidity, and rainfall – conditions that the state’s Transit Oriented Development guidelines recognize as a significant barrier to walking and transit use. This paper seeks to identify policy and design solutions that can mitigate the challenges that climate poses to creating walkable, transit-oriented communities in Florida. It identifies the typical summertime weather conditions in Miami, which was selected to be the study area because it contains a wide variety of densities and transit options in addition to newly revised zoning and land use regulations. It then examines the body’s physiological response to these conditions and uses this information to determine how far an average adult male can walk while maintaining “thermal comfort.”
Description: Advisor: Brian Stone
Type: Masters Project
Date: 2011-04-28
Contributor: Georgia Institute of Technology. School of City and Regional Planning
Publisher: Georgia Institute of Technology
Subject: Florida
Development decisions
Air conditioning
Walkable communities
Climate challenges

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