In 2016, smart growth advocacy group, 1000 Friends of Florida, released the Florida 2070 project. This project established a baseline for land use in Florida, then projected what the state will look like in the year 2070 based on current scenarios and growth trends. Additionally, the study provided an alternative view that illustrates what our state could look like if we begin to implement smart growth techniques.
The Florida 2070 project reveals that if Florida does not change the way it develops, by 2070 more than a third of Florida’s lands could be paved over, with development-related water demand more than doubling. A more sustainable alternative shows that if Florida follows compact development patterns and increases the amount of land conserved, it will save 1.8 million acres of land from development and conserve an additional 5.8 million acres of natural and agricultural land, while still accommodating the same growth in population. Using more compact development patterns and a modest 20 percent increase in water conservation will reduce water demand by more than a quarter in 2070 but, given many areas of the state are already experiencing water shortages, this is clearly not enough. What are the implications of Florida 2070 for St. Johns County?
St. Johns County 2070: What’s Next?
As one of the fastest growing counties in the state, St. Johns County is experiencing its fair share of growing pains. Unsustainable growth threatens our environmental resources, our agricultural heritage, and our way of life. In November of 2019, Matanzas Riverkeeper partnered with 1000 Friends of Florida for a discussion about growth projections for St. Johns County as well as policy tools that could help to ensure a more sustainable future for our community. We hosted two community workshops to share this information and to gather feedback from residents.
On June 23, 2020, our webinar, St. Johns County 2070: What’s Next?, recapped the results of the St. Johns County 2070 study, shared feedback gathered from the workshops, and discussed smart growth policy tools and recommendations. Matanzas Riverkeeper continues to work towards implementing the recommendations from this project.
St. Johns County 2070 is supported by our community partners including discretionary funds at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida