Where Sky meets the Land…

sky-developers on land for Sky, Florida (Southern Living)

Florida is no stranger to New Urbanism experiments and communities. In the 1980’s the very first New Urbanism community was designed and built for the Redneck Riviera or better known as the Panhandle of Florida, called Seaside. Many others have been built since then including Rosemary Beach, Watercolor, Harmony, Celebration, which was built by Disney, and an all-Catholic town called Ave Maria from the Man who created Dominoes. Each one boasts mixed use, white picket fences, a walkable and convenient layout and unique dining and shopping. However, one town is emerging that may be the first completely green city in the U.S.

Welcome to Sky.

Design of Homes for Sky, Florida (Florida State University, Center for Advanced Power Systems, Tallahassee, Fla.)

Imagine waking up in your new energy efficient home, filled with windows and skylights. You make your way to your water saving toilet, before hopping in the shower where it is heated/cooled, like all the water in your home, by geothermal power. For breakfast, you pick fruit from your garden out back. Work is just a few feet away in the living room where you have a view of the street. You wave hello to the pedestrians and bikers going by, because cars are almost never seen here. You log on to the free community wifi and take a breath of fresh air. Welcome to the future, welcome to Sky, Florida. Population: nearly 3,000. Carbon Foot print: Zero.

Example of Tree House Porches (Southern Living)

Sky, Florida, is currently in the planning and designing stages, but someday it will be built on 571 acres of land in rural Calhoun County, an hour southwest of Tallahassee. The town plans on using a geothermal duct under the ground from a central location to cool and heat each home. A large community organic farm of nearly 154 acreswill provide much of the food for the people, limiting the amount of produce that would need to be imported from far off places. In addition, all appliances and electronics will run off of solar power.

Homes built in Sky will focus on a variety of architectural styles, including “tree house” porches, louvered shutters, and durable stonewalls. Sky will also feature an equestrian center, amphitheatre, and 80-room lodge and conference center called the Sky Institute. This will be the preeminent place for research, learning and development for Sustainable living practices.

Wetlands to be Preserved at Sky, Florida (Southern Living)

The Sky Team is made up of the founders Julia Starr Sanford and Bruce White. They gathered a team of architects, builders, scientist, and thinkers to design the project they feel is their calling. “Life at Sky,” says Julia, “inspires us to taste the fruits of the land and to preserve the natural resources that sustain it by digging deep in Southern soil for the connection to our past.” Is Sky the limit? I should think so. Only time will tell.

Sources:

Florida Scientists Plan Environmentally Friendly Community (ScienceDaily)

Florida green Community – The Sky Institute (Southern Living)

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2 comments

  1. What saving Toilets? What about waterless compost toilets? You should look up the Humanure Handbook by Joseph C. Jenkins (http://humanurehandbook.com/).

    I have often dreamt of the agrarian paradise, where you don’t have to drive your suburban 2 hours to work everyday in order to afford those meals at Chili’s and Panda Express. But how far is this city from other civic amenities, hospitals, police and fire stations, school? Is it similar to an Amish paradise or a chic suburban commune?

  2. Well there is controversy surrounding the developments of Sky. One of which is that it is in a rural county which has a total of 13,000 residents. So this is pure country. However I’m sure the county seat, Blountstown, population 2,433 and shrinking, has civic amenities. But in all seriousness, this city was meant to be self sustaining. It will have everything you will need to live a happy, safe and healthy life. Here are a list of some of their goals…

    Feedable: It must be able to feed its residents.
    Serviceable: All daily needs must be within walking distance.
    Accessible: Whether they’re doctors, teachers, or emergency personnel, people who provide the services must live nearby.

    A sustainable building must embody the following characteristics.

    Lovable: “It must be lovable,” says Steve, “or it gets carted off to a landfill.”
    Durable: “We must conceive of creating millennium buildings again.” But, Steve adds, “the myth of no-maintenance is true if you plan on bulldozing it in 15 years.” Buildings must be cared for and adaptable, which leads to the next point…
    Flexible and recyclable: The interior must be adaptable so residents can accommodate new technologies.
    Frugal: Buildings must be efficient to decrease waste.(Southern Living)

    Another controversy is that the land Sky will be built on is mostly pristine wilderness. The founders defend their project by stating they will preserve most of the land. “When we first brought people here to discuss the development,” Julia Sanford says, “they thought we would fill in these fields with buildings. But much of this is what we’ll preserve. Some of it will be converted back to farmland; other parts will be left just as you see it now―wild and open.”(Southern Living) They also claim this place is needed to be an example of Green living for the rest of the country. So I would say this place is in between an Amish paradise and chic suburban commune. One would probably have to be somewhat wealthy to live here. Founder Bruce Starr says Sky will be “the first off-the-grid luxury town built in this country.”

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