The town of Babcock Ranch emerged virtually unscathed during Hurricane Ian, the Category 4 storm that hit Florida’s southwest coast. The reason for Babcock Ranch’s unusual resilience? Planning. The town is part of a growing group of new master-planned communities in the U.S. designed with the increasingly severe impacts of the climate crisis in mind.
Planned communities are particularly popular as a resilience strategy in California, where the amount of land burned by wildfires each year has risen steeply over the last decade. One example is Rancho Mission Viejo, a half-built planned community of 14,000 homes on former ranch land in Orange County. Homes in the three neighborhoods on sale are encircled by belts of land where vegetation is regularly thinned and irrigated.