Marco Island in 1964 (left) and present day (Michael Coleman)

Slate not too way back printed a piece by Henry Grabar, "The Lessons of Marco Island", on the Florida island that was savaged by Hurricane Irma remaining week and the approved historic previous that enabled its development whereas defending shut by wetlands. Some highlights:

Forty years previously, the consensus of the state and federal governments was that Marco Island should not have been constructed the least bit. The neighborhood was the setting for one in all many best development controversies in america and nearly ruined thought of one in all Florida’s largest and most celebrated builders. In a space with a notorious establishing behavior, it turned the positioning of the environmental movement’s greatest victory over the Florida progress machine. Ecological foresight halted lots of of 1000’s of in precise property development and all nonetheless ended an engineering method that had turned the South Florida coast from swampland to resort.


When brothers Robert, Elliott, and Frank Mackle discovered Marco throughout the early 1960s, half of its 10 sq. miles consisted of mangrove swamps. Residence to only some hundred of us and an abandoned clam manufacturing facility, it was the one largest undeveloped barrier island property in South Florida. 


The plan known as for 35,000 residential fashions, which could require displacing 18.2 million cubic yards of ground (better than 150,000 dump autos’ worth), dredging the land into channels, and using the dredge to create development web sites throughout the swamp. This system is frequent all through South Florida; Cape Coral, a little bit of to the north, is an efficient occasion. Nonetheless, on the time, Marco Island was the most important “finger-fill” waterfront housing mission to ever come sooner than the Army Corps of Engineers, Science reported in 1976.

Deltona's "finger-fill" development used dredging to transform swampland into canal-side residential plots
(Flip Schulke/US Nationwide Archives and Data Administration)

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