GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Suburbia threatens to cover nearly double the amount of land now claimed by neighborhoods and shopping centers in Florida, because the population is projected to reach 34 million by 2070, according to a study conducted by University of Florida researchers who partnered with 1000 Friends of Florida and the state Department of Agriculture.

Based on study results, the researchers call for a change in current building patterns to help preserve the state's farming and natural areas while also preparing the state for the 15 million more residents expected in Florida over the next 50 years.

Researchers recommend encouraging more redevelopment within cities and towns, allowing more intense development within or near urban areas, and making it easier to foster transportation alternatives.

The study also calls for including a variety of housing types in new development – from houses to apartments – to help make homes more affordable. It also recommends incentives for landowners to keep their land in agriculture operation, and an investment in preserving more land for farming and conservation.

"We are not talking about doing away with development," says Vivian Young, spokeswoman for the growth watchdog group 1000 Friends of Florida, which worked with the University of Florida and the state's agricultural department to produce the report.

Source: Sun-Sentinel (FL) (09/15/16) Reid, Andy


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