Babcock Ranch Featured at Aspen Ideas: Climate Conference

Babcock Ranch, which is powered entirely by solar, was designed for resilience, said Kitson as he spoke to the crowd on the final day of the conference. The 150-megawatt solar facility has 700,000 panels, and weathered the hurricane well.

Kitson took a rare approach to developing land. The firm bought the 91,000-acre ranch in 2006, and sold 73,000 acres of it to Florida — the largest land purchase in state’s history. That land became part of the Florida Wildlife Corridor, a swath of wilderness running up the state and connecting national parks, state parks and private ranches. The corridor allows crucial wildlife such as Florida panthers, black bear and deer to travel and avoid inbreeding due to isolation.

The development, or “town” as Kitson calls it, will eventually have 20,000 homes and 55,000 people on 18,000 acres, half of which is preserved, meaning 90% of the original land is protected in some way.

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