(SFGN, 3/19/17)

In my last column, we saw that the benefits of “community” – at least here in East Broward at present – are most easily enjoyed at the upper end of the income pyramid. Once your household income is in six figures, you have options here in East Broward to have a single family home and be in walking distance of amenities and a community core.

But what if you are not so blessed?

This is an issue that vexes me. Perhaps it shouldn’t. Many of my colleagues tend to the mercenary side. We tend to be compensated on a percentage of transaction value – so the higher the sale price, the more we make. And it sometimes, frankly, takes less effort to sell a higher priced property than a lower priced home.

But I don’t see my role that way, completely. Not as a component in building a more stable, healthy society. I think there are longer term objectives that Realtor-leaders can be working to achieve, in driving to build community. Here are some examples that we will be exploring as we continue with the series.

Highest and Best Use.” East Broward is pretty well built out. There’s not any vacant land to speak of here, unless you demolish something that is already standing. Or, in the alternative, examine existing structures and spaces carefully and wonder – maybe imagine – what could be their future.

Sometimes I look around Broward County – particularly of late I look at DC – and I see tremendous failures of imagination. We seem so constrained by limitations, many of which may well be arbitrary and subject to change. Perhaps it is time to look carefully at the areas in these 10 community clusters with a fresh set of eyes and some new imagination.

For example, within 10 years or so, driverless cars are expected to become commonplace. Garage and parking demands will be minimized and space for housing and development will increase. Has anyone been thinking about what that will mean here in East Broward and how that will affect our fragile environment?

A Catalyzing Moment.” I can think right now of three areas – one each in Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park, and Pompano Beach – that could be poised for a catalyzing moment, a birth of community. Two have a better foundation than the third.

Go West.” No I don’t mean the Gulf Coast. I mean west of I-95, where valuations are lower but tradeoffs exist (e.g., greater distance from the beach, east/west traffic issues). Somewhat by accident I stumbled onto a subdivision with a remarkably high LGBT population and rather large homes at a low price per square foot (yes I have in previous columns trashed that statistic but since everybody else uses it, when in Rome etc).

Acceptance is the Answer.” There is also the possibility that East Broward has just become too expensive for the typical person or couple, and that other areas in South Florida would represent better values. Maybe Wilton was a great idea for our community 20 years ago, but time has passed and it is inevitable that Wilton, like the Castro and Ptown, will still be here, but that new opportunities await. And just possibly those new opportunities are relatively close at hand – maybe even less than an hour away from here.

The good thing about Geekery, is that the analysis of data only requires a laptop, software and imagination. And a Florida real estate license is good anywhere from Pensacola to Key West.

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