What is a Sustainable City?
Most people may not know the definition of a sustainable town, but they might recognize one when they see it.
Perhaps they notice the tidy streets, residents walking their dogs and chatting with neighbors in the evening or the birds chirping in the parks while children play on the swings. Or maybe they see it when they notice people are involved tending their vegetables in the community gardens, riding their bikes together on a trail, meeting at town gatherings to make local decisions or enjoying a lakeside jazz concert in the town center.
Truth is, everyone has similar definitions of a sustainable town or community. At Babcock Ranch, we believe true sustainability embraces a commitment to conserving, preserving natural resources, creating a context for personal growth and the fulfillment of personal dreams and aspirations.
Preserving the Environment
It all starts with environmental conservation. That’s because without environmental sustainability, it’s not possible to promote economic and social progress. After all, who wants to work or live in a community that is experiencing environmental degradation?
Here are the environmental factors that help make Babcock Ranch a sustainable community:
1. Most of Babcock Ranch will remain a nature preserve forever. At one time, the area that once totaled 91,000 acres was home to the ranchers and farmers of Crescent B Ranch. Thanks to sustainable-community developer Kitson & Partners and visionary state legislators, the town of Babcock Ranch will only encompass 17,000 acres. The remaining 74,000 acres of what once was Crescent B Ranch is now owned by the state as a preserve in perpetuity. Meanwhile, more than 90% of the town will be built on land that’s already been farmed and mined for rock over the ranch’s 100-year history, ensuring that the 19,500 homes will be built on land that isn’t environmentally sensitive.
2. More trees. Green infrastructure has been the overriding theme in all planning decisions for the sustainable community. Babcock Ranch will add 5,493 more trees to shade pathways, rest areas and streets. The community will boast of having 75% of its trees be native.
3. Restoring water flows. Natural surface-water flows are essential for sustainable communities such as Babcock Ranch because they help restore natural habitats and provide natural irrigation. Kitson & Partners has spent the last decade restoring areas that had been drained for agriculture reasons, rehydrating wetlands around Curry Lake and other areas of the town.
4. The FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center will supply the community and the broader region with 74.5-megawatts of clean, renewable power generated by the Florida sunshine. The 443-acre solar power plant is currently under construction in the town and will make Babcock Ranch the world’s first new town where solar energy production exceeds the total energy consumption from day one. In collaboration with Florida Power & Light, the photovoltaic solar plant will generate more energy than the town of 50,000 residents consumes.
5. Energy efficient architecture. Because its emphasis on environmental stewardship and renewable energy, all the builders at Babcock Ranch will adhere to tough green-building standards. For example, homes will have raised foundations for natural cooling, high-performance windows and insulation, efficient heating and cooling equipment and energy saving lighting.