This is a fascinating story on the complicated relationship of the stakeholders in Florida’s wilderness, explaining pretty well the issues faced on all sides. It isn’t a new story, either, as it is a problem in many developing areas. However, as I see it, developers are antiquated in their planning methods. As a planner, I think that the story could change if there were a combination of subsidies for farmers so that they have some support and don’t have to sell their land, and of environmentally conscious developers considering the wildlife corridors and absorptive qualities of the land they buy that triggers water issues when developed. After all, as the population grows (and Americans aren’t into micro cities), people need more places to live. So to design places in such a way as to:
- Do no grading or limited grading to retain native plants, microbes, seeds, and mycology.
- Create wildlife corridors within suburban complexes to allow for other creatures to exist
- Plant only native species in landscaping and avoid classic-style lawns
- Create and retain more places for wildlife within subdivisions, and not cut down big trees
- Design houses higher above the ground and with less of a footprint, making them higher quality than quantity. For example, getting creative, like using recycled or locally-sourced materials or with designs, like pools and gardens on the rooftops.
- Subdivisions with a central area having a small kiosk or shops, community center, and park — basically centrally located places to interact with one’s neighbors in order to improve community, as seen in classic cities such as Barcelona and small towns in Mexico.
… And I’m sure there are a lot more ideas we could all come up with if we tried.
What I do know is that for a long time, everywhere in the world, developers have been in it for the money, and it’s time that changed. They should be put to the bar as responsible for the futures of communities and areas (in this case wildlife areas), and as Spider-Man said, “with great power comes great responsibility.”