This article is focused upon the learning and innovation that grow from the experience of pioneering the implementation of a large-scale (19,500 units) self-sustaining community plan on a large acreage ownership. Across the suburban and rural areas of the United States and especially in South Florida old family farmlands and ranches are passing from the generations who assembled and worked them to heirs who would prefer to sell the property for development. Kitson & Partners (K&P) was able to secure such a family ranch, the Babcock “Crescent B” Ranch, when attempts by the public and the State of Florida to purchase it were unsuccessful. The precedent K&P has set is to assure that approximately 90% of the 91,361 acres they purchased from the Babcock Family will be in various forms of public ownership at the end of the project. The purchase and subsequent below market price sale of the 73,471 acres to the State established Florida’s largest State Preserve, working ranch, single purchase, and public access to lakes and greenways. This was a formidable accomplishment and sets a new precedent and model for land management and conservation.
The purchase of the Babcock Ranch completed a publicly owned or leased wildlife corridor that stretches from Lake Okeechobee westward to Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico. This corridor extends more than halfway across the state.