Broward County is among the largest of Florida's counties, its total area being 1,230 square miles. In spite of its large size, the concentration of population in the 431 square miles east of the County's Conservation Area makes Broward County among the most densely populated of Florida's counties. According to 2000 United States Census, Broward County had a population of 1,623,018 on April 1, 2000, with a resulting population density of approximately 3,960 persons per square mile. By April 2009 the population of Broward had reached 1,762,285 according to the Broward County Population Forecasting Model. In addition to this permanent population, nearly 100,000 part-time residents are present within Broward County at the peak of its "season," and more than 9,000,000 tourists visit the County annually.
Due to the urbanized character of Broward County, problems arise that are not confined to the jurisdictional boundaries of individual local governments and cannot be dealt with effectively by a single unit of local government. Examples include drainage, air and water pollution, solid waste disposal and traffic congestion. Similarly, certain types of development may have multi-jurisdictional impacts. For instance, highway, major street and mass transit system developments can have a profound influence on land use and growth patterns throughout the County.
There are 31 municipalities within Broward County, each exhibiting different land use, population and development characteristics. These municipalities vary in size from 13 acres (Lazy Lake) to more than 36 square miles (Fort Lauderdale). Their populations vary, from 39 (Lazy Lake) to approximately 178,400 (Fort Lauderdale). Unincorporated Broward County, with land area dispersed throughout the County, encompasses approximately 12.5 square miles (outside the Conservation Area); the Board of County Commissioners exercises authority in the unincorporated area.
The presence of 32 local governments, as well as numerous special-purpose government entities, can complicate resolving even the simplest planning problems and provides for a challenge in the arena of intergovernmental cooperation and coordination. The Planning Council is the forum for meeting such challenges.