Florida's Eco-City of Tomorrow Today! Babcock Ranch to Be Solar Powered, Have Smart Grid, More...

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They're building one in Abu Dhabi, and now southwest Florida will have one too: Their very own solar-powered city. Real estate developer Kitson & Partners, along with Florida Power & Light have announced "the city of tomorrow", Babcock Ranch:

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The plan is to develop 17,000 acres of land into a city consisting of 6 million square feet of commercial, retail, office and light industrial space and about 20,000 houses, where all of them are certified as energy efficient and built according to Florida Green Building Council standards, all of the electrical transmission is part of an integrated smart grid, and (ta da!) it's all powered by a 75 MW solar power plant. The total bill: $2 billion for the whole project, $300 million of that for the solar power plant

Half of the land within the city will be set aside for greenways and open space, and the entire thing is sited next to the 73,000 acre Babcock Ranch Preserve.

Project developers claim that 20,000 new permanent jobs will be created by Babcock Ranch.

Construction on the city, which in total is larger than the island of Manhattan, is expected to begin in 2010, with construction on the solar power plant beginning later this year.

Babcock Ranch Site Plan

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And Concept Images
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babcock ranch image

babcock ranch image

How Is This Better Than Making What We Have Greener?
All the green credentials sound great, but one thing that really keeps sticking in my head is—I've sat on this news for a bit and these thoughts won't go away—how is this better than making all the cities that we already have greener? Certainly we've got plenty of civic infrastructure in the United States that could use a green overhaul: Buildings, public transportation, roadways, bikeways. Do we really need an entirely new planned city in south Florida, or anywhere, when so much needs to be done to what we already have?

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all images: Babcock Ranch
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