It’s being called the city of the future.
In a state nicknamed after sunshine, Floridians—and loads of tourists—bank on the sun for many things: warmth, Vitamin D, the perfect weather for lazy-day beach lounging. And in the new community of Babcock Ranch, 50,000 residents will rely on it for 100-percent of their power.
Located about 30 minutes northeast of Fort Myers, in an area once (and still partially) ruled by gators and swamps, Babcock Ranch is a new model of planned community that puts preservation at the top of the priority list. When the community, which just welcomed its first residents in January, is complete, it will produce more power than it consumes thanks to a cadre of 323,000 solar panels.
In addition to self-producing its electricity, the town is wired to cut down on power use. Babcock Ranch’s 19,500 residential lots are situated around a town center with all the community amenities you’d need (including a school, farm-to-table restaurants, and a community garden). Shared bikes and electric cars make it easy to get around. And for public transport? Babcock Ranch will be home to the country’s first network of self-driving electric shuttles.
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Green space, naturally, is also a priority, with 50 percent of the city set aside for use as parks, lawns, and farmland. And just next door, the 73,000-acre Babcock Ranch Preserve offers swamp tours and miles of rugged trails for hiking and horseback riding.
With all the innovation packed into this futuristic and sustainable town of tomorrow, it’s surprisingly affordable to call Babcock Ranch home. A three-bedroom, 1,400-square-foot home starts at a reasonable $186,000. Larger, decked-out homes with water views come in around the low $500ks. And, of course, each home is sustainably built and certified by the Florida Green Building Coalition.
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