Cities in the Everglades : the implications of compact urban development for regional water storage in Palm Beach County
Author(s)Prokop, Ambika Anand, 1972-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Anne Whiston Spirn.
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Alternative forms of urban development such as high-density or in-fill development are often promoted for their significant environmental benefits. South Florida presents an excellent testing ground for this assumption, as the region grapples with issues of rapid urbanization and degradation of the Everglades, a unique ecosystem containing the largest freshwater wetlands in the United States. Resolving the competition for water between growing urban populations, the agriculture sector, and the plants and animals of the Everglades is one of the fundamental challenges of Everglades restoration. Hydrologists claim that sufficient water is available for all three if the water is managed properly and sufficient water storage can be found. In recent years, South Florida has adopted compact development as a means of managing its urban growth and curbing the historical patterns of low-density urban sprawl, so that future urban growth is compatible with ecosystem restoration. However the hydrologic benefits of compact development have yet to be quantified and proven. By using Palm Beach County as an example, this study evaluates the impact of compact development on aquifer recharge, which is an important means of storing water for the region. This analysis models the spatial distribution of future urban development under sprawl and compact development scenarios and evaluates potential aquifer recharge under the two development patterns. The results of this analysis indicate that while compact development confers some benefits to water storage, these benefits will pale in light of the growing water needs of the region's burgeoning population. Therefore, while the county should adopt compact development for its benefits, however small, policy makers should not count on this policy alone to ameliorate the negative environmental impacts of future population growth in the region.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2001.Some maps folded.Includes bibliographical references (p. -161).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.