When a massive ranch in Florida went up for sale 10 years ago, on a piece of land five times the size of Manhattan, the owners had offers from buyers around the world. But instead of selling to the highest bidder, they chose a developer that would preserve most of the land—and turn the rest into what’s attempting to be the most sustainable new town in the United States.
“We came to them and we said, look, we want to preserve as much of this as possible, and then create the most sustainable new town that has really ever been attempted,” says Syd Kitson, chairman and CEO of Kitson and Partners, the developer of the new town, called Babcock Ranch.
After a decade of planning, the town is now under construction. Florida Power & Light, the local utility, is building a huge new solar farm on the property—with 350,000 solar panels—which will power the entire community of 50,000 people.