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.
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.
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.
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.
Florida Scientists Plan Environmentally Friendly Community (ScienceDaily)
Florida green Community – The Sky Institute (Southern Living)