Urban Planning and Water Bodies: Florida Aquatic Land Cover

Urban Planning and Water Bodies: Florida Aquatic Land Cover

Delray Beach, Florida.  Created by @dailyoverview, source image @maxartechnologiesBoynton Beach, Florida.  Created by @dailyoverview, image source: @airbus_space © CNES 2020, Airbus DS DistributionIsland Walk, Naples, Florida.  Created by @dailyoverview, image source: @nearmapVenetian Islands, Miami Beach, Florida.  Created by @dailyoverview, source image @maxartechnologies+ 8

The state of Florida in the United States is bordered to the south, east and west by the Atlantic Ocean, with a coastline of more than two thousand kilometers in length, and is characterized by vast expanses of lakes, rivers and ponds. Land booms in the early and mid-twentieth century led to the development of new communities and the expansion of low-density suburbs in many parts of the state, which frequently incorporated the abundant water resources, sometimes failing in their efforts. .

Land use trends throughout the state’s history have been directly influenced by the natural resources, geomorphology, and climate that exist in the state. Since 1900, Florida has experienced substantial changes in land use patterns and land cover due to significant increases in population and tourism, coinciding with new development, facilitated by new railroads and highways , and inspired by an aggressive marketing campaign for new residents and visitors to come to the state.

One of the first major land booms occurred after World War I. At that time, middle-class people had the time, money, and means to travel to Florida. With cities developed to attract tourists but also to meet the needs of visitors interested in buying homes, developers have built new communities, destinations and attractions, causing significant changes in the natural landscape and resources of the region. state, fragmenting and degrading the land, the introduction of invasive species and the exploitation of natural resources.

Boynton Beach, Florida.  Created by @dailyoverview, image source: @airbus_space © CNES 2020, Airbus DS Distribution
Boynton Beach, Florida. Created by @dailyoverview, image source: @airbus_space © CNES 2020, Airbus DS Distribution
Delray Beach, Florida.  Created by @dailyoverview, source image @maxartechnologies
Delray Beach, Florida. Created by @dailyoverview, source image @maxartechnologies

After World War II, development in Florida boomed again, with the state’s population growing from 2.8 million in 1950 to 6.7 million in 1970. New real estate financing options and building techniques improvements that have reduced costs have made home ownership possible for more people. Developers set out to build large suburban communities that sometimes included shops, schools, parks, and community centers, also creating new canals and lakes to maximize the amount of waterfront property.

The state’s population growth encouraged urban planning based on the creation and incorporation of bodies of water, which led to the rise of cities such as Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Naples and Cape Coral – the first three located in Palm Beach County, in the southeast of the state, where 17.3% of the surface is covered with water. Water has been strategically integrated into the development of these locations as a development resource to create attractive environments and promote visual, acoustic and recreational effects.

By observing aerial images of these places, it is possible to notice the different ways in which urban developments, lakes and canals have been developed and integrated into the spatial planning of each city. Variables such as land use, the ability to engage in aquatic activities (such as fishing, swimming, and boating), and integration with other nearby navigable canals have shaped these water bodies alongside the distribution of land, resulting in meandering and meandering patterns.

Island Walk, Naples, Florida.  Created by @dailyoverview, image source: @nearmap
Island Walk, Naples, Florida. Created by @dailyoverview, image source: @nearmap
Cape Coral, Florida.  Created by @dailyoverview, image source: @maxartechnologies
Cape Coral, Florida. Created by @dailyoverview, image source: @maxartechnologies

However, the management of water resources has not always been successful. Prior to the development of the area where the city of Cape Coral is located in the southwestern part of the state, water was widely distributed on the surface and in shallow aquifers. According to Hubert Stroud, a geography professor at Arkansas State University, these resources degraded as soon as developers in Cape Coral began subdivision operations. According to Stroud, the layout, design and construction techniques were particularly devastating to water resources. Instead of using incremental development, the area was dredged, filled and segmented long before it was occupied. The resulting road grid is interrupted by occasional meandering channels.

Prior to development, the peninsula that is now the location of Cape Coral was covered in wetlands that were vital for groundwater recharge, storing and purifying large volumes of water that flowed into it from higher elevations. The development of Cape Coral has resulted in significant environmental degradation of water resources, caused by soil erosion, urban runoff and sewage from septic tanks.

Venetian Islands, Miami Beach, Florida.  Created by @dailyoverview, source image @maxartechnologies
Venetian Islands, Miami Beach, Florida. Created by @dailyoverview, source image @maxartechnologies

Florida is a state marked by a large number of water resources, whether coastal or inland, on the surface or underground, and many cities and communities have considered them as key elements of urban planning, exploring their potentials. more diverse. The alliance between planned cities and water resources in Florida reveals not only the curious patterns of roads and canals, visible in aerial photographs, but also the complex relationship between water and land in the context of the city. , showing that water is more than just a landscape or aesthetic resource, it is a fundamental element of urban infrastructure.

Boynton Beach, Florida.  Created by @overview
Boynton Beach, Florida. Created by @overview
Boca Raton, Florida.  Created by @benjaminrgrant, image source: @digitalglobe
Boca Raton, Florida. Created by @benjaminrgrant, image source: @digitalglobe

Reference list
STROUD, Hubert. Water resources in Cape Coral, Florida. Problems created by poor planning and development. Land Use Policy, Vol. 4, No. 2. April 1991.
VOLK, Michael et al. Florida land use and land cover change over the past 100 years. In: Chassignet, Eric et al (Eds.). Florida’s climate: changes, variations and impacts. Gainesville: Florida Climate Institute, 2017.