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Title: Lee County an area of recent rapid growth: energy, water, and land use analysis with recommendations for best economic vitality,
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00016739/00001
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Title: Lee County an area of recent rapid growth: energy, water, and land use analysis with recommendations for best economic vitality,
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Brown, Mark T.
Publisher: Center for Wetlands Research, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Copyright Date: July 16, 1975
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Bibliographic ID: UF00016739
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA9406

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Full Text


Energy, Water, and Land Use Analysis with
Recommendations for Best Economic Vitality

Mark T. Brown -


State of Florida
Department of Administration
Division of State Planning
Tallahassee, Florida
of Special Reports for Decision Makers

Center for Wetlands
Phelps Lab
University of Florida
Gainesville 32611

July 16, 1975


As man's influence in any landscape becomes the major feature,

planning for future alternatives of land, energy and water use becomes

increasingly important. The concern becomes one of insuring long-range

values and high quality of life by insuring that different land uses do

not conflict, that energy for productivity is available in the quanti-

ties needed, and that there is sufficient high-quality water for the

needs of the population.

This report is concerned with these things, and others; and their

influence on long-range values and quality of life. Trends of land use

are presented, the energy requirements of productivity are analyzed,

and trends in energy availability discussed. The economy of Lee County

is analyzed, and the exchanges of major exported and imported goods and

services are discussed in light of future ability to maintain balance

of payments. A method of calculating carrying capacity as a basis for

a vital economy is suggested and demonstrated, and, finally, suggestions

for regional well-being and a process of development that will insure

long-range values and enhance quality of life are presented.


Mark Brown

Lee County in southwest Florida is shown in Figures 1 and 2. The

county has been one of the fastest growing districts in Florida and in

the nation. The area is now dominated by the rapid growth of Ft. Myers

and housing developments along the estuaries and elsewhere. Originally,

the varied countryside had beaches, estuaries, swamps, uplands (Figure

1), and favorable climate that attracted large economic investments

that were the base of rapid inflow of additional purchased energies.

The pattern of man and nature that had developed by 1973 is given in

Figure 2.

Prominent in the primitive condition (Figure 1), and to a small

extent in the present condition as well, are the many wetland systems

that are a result of abundant rainfall (approximately 54" per year) and

low land elevation. At the county's widest point, the land rises barely

30 feet from sea level. In the primitive condition the groundwater

table was within 30 inches of the surface year around over more than

90% of the land area; and approximately 25% of the countryside had

surface water throughout most of the year. Thousands of marshes and

ponds dotted the landscape receiving wet season rains, allowing some to

run off through cypress and marsh sloughs eventually to the Gulf, but

retaining most for the long dry season that followed.

Pineland systems of pine flatwoods and sand pine communities com-

prised roughly 56% of the land area, mostly north of the Caloosahatchee

River and along the south bank where the city of Ft. Myers now stands.

Dotting these pineland systems were many marshes and ponds. The south-

east areas of the county were predominately wetland systems with scattered

"islands" of pine systems on the higher grounds. Patterns of surface

runoff are evidenced by the pattern and types of vegetation communities.

A ridge line that now corresponds to SR 82 separated the eastern part

of the county into two major watersheds. Above the ridge line waters

flowed north and west, much flowing into a twelve mile slough that fed

the Orange River and eventually into the Caloosahatchee River. To the

south of the ridge surface, waters flowed through a complex array of

marshes and cypress sloughs that formed the headwaters of Hendry Creek,

Mullock Creek, Estero River, Halfway Creek, Spring Creek, Imperial River,

and Corkscrew Swamp.

Today, a large part of the natural drainage features of the land-

scape have been altered. Sloughs and marshes have been channelized to

facilitate fast removal of wet season waters. Canals in many places

are deep enough to lower groundwater as much as eight feet. Scraped

and altered lands, paved areas, and developed lawns have increased run-

off; all adding to the problem of wet season sporadic flooding, which

in turn, calls for "improved" drainage facilities to alleviate the down-

stream flooding, Increased runoff quantities and higher nutrient loads

are being received by the estuarine systems of Estero Bay, Caloosahatchee

River, Matlacha Pass and San Carlos Bay causing sharp fluctuations in

salinities and nutrient loads that may stress these systems. Figure 2

shows Lee County at the present state with major land uses indicated.

Most of the pineland systems of the northern part of the county are

developed for housing and commercial uses and much of the southeastern

portion has been developed for agriculture uses. Large areas throughout

the county such as the Cape Coral area north of the Caloosahatchee

River have been "prepared" for development by removal of natural vege-

tation. Other areas have been "prepared" for development leaving some

natural vegetation, but having roads installed, and drainage canals dug

to insure fast removal of wet season rains. Development strategies of

this nature neglect the value of natural areas, and assume that current

"tastes" for attractive homes will continue for some time. That is to

say, future residents will still consider the lack of natural (indigi-

nious) vegetation attractive; when the reverse might be true especially

as citizens become increasingly aware of the value of natural vegeta-

tion, and the energy expense of maintaining artificial, exotic land-


The land prepared for development in Lee County (the gray colored

areas on the map) amount to approximately 62,000 acres, If we assume

5 housing units per acre, 3 people per unit, the population of the

County when these developments are full could reach well over 1 million.

This is considering just the lands that are already "committed" to

development housing. Each month new developments are proposed for

other areas throughout the county, that will commit even more area for

development. The question is raised then, how many people can Lee

County house within its boundaries and still retain the unique qualities

and services to its present population that make it such an attractive

place to live?

To answer this question we must consider a number of things;

first, in order to increase the population of the area, energy must be

available to build new structures, housing, commercial areas, schools,

government buildings, roads, and all the other support facilities neces-

sary for support of the populations. Second, jobs must be found for

many of these individuals. While it is understood a good many may be

retirees that are living on pensions and social security, some will re-

quire an increased job market. Some, it is true, will work at providing

services for the larger population but this amounts to 1 in 5... we will

still have to find jobs for 4 others for each one working in the ser-

vice industry. And third, the increased population will generate more

garbage, more sewage, crowd already congested roads, increase demands

for already short supplies of water, and crowd already crowded beaches.

The qualities that make Lee County an attractive area, and help to

create the image that draws tourists to southwest Florida are strongly

related to the "natural systems," or areas of beaches, bays, swamps, and

pines, As the population grows, so do the stresses placed on an already

stressed natural system. More lands must be drained and scraped for

roads, houses, and stores, increased amounts of sewage must be assimu-

lated by the natural areas throughout the county, and so on. The greater

the densities of people the greater the energy costs to support them.

No longer can developments get away with the inexpensive "septic-tank"

as a means of sewage treatment (while densities are sparse this is a

perfectly acceptable and efficient means of treatment). Now secondary

treatment facilities are required for all developments. Soon the en-

vironment will no longer assimulate the quantities of nutrients generated

from the greater number of these plants and their increased loads. Ad-

vanced waste water treatment (or tertiary treatment) will be necessary,

increasing the costs tremendously to maintain each man,woman and child

in Lee County, This is only one example, the costs of all services

will increase. As an example of what might be in store, consider that

in the last 10 years while the population in Lee County has increased

% the per capital costs of services has increased % (this is ad-

justed for inflation at 4%/year).

In our consideration of the question of how many more people Lee

County can support, the terms energy costs, and available energy will

be the major considerations by which we will evaluate this question.

Energy is the driving force that maintains our urban "systems." Every-

thing that man does, everything that he consumes, is bade possible by

large amounts of supporting fossil fuel energy.

The implications of energy availability to support population

centers are becoming more apparent as worldwide shortages, embargoes,

and demands come and go, As a result, many alternative means are being

considered and tried to reduce energy utilization throughout our economy.

Since energy is at the base of all our processes that support our ur-

ban centers including the manufacturing and transportation of goods and

materials, it may become increasingly difficult, and expensive to fi-

nance growth. In fact, growth of regions populations and supporting

structure, as well as their economies, may no longer be possible.

For these reasons, it is important to quantify the flows of energy

and money (for the money a region has, has direct bearing on the energy

it may obtain), which support and drive the county as a whole, With a

good understanding of the energy requirements that Lee County now has,

and the means by which the county pays for this energy, we gain some

insight into what effects future energy shortages, inflationary ten-

dencies, and a nationally depressed economy may have on the overall


economy and "standard of living" in the county.

Figure 3 is a simplified balance of payments diagram, showing the

major flows of energies and materials, and their accompanying money

flows that cross the boundaries of the region. Goods sold and money

received are to the right, and imports with expenditures are to the

left. All the flows of energy are expressed in kilocalories (1000

calories) of energy. The diamond symbol represents the exchange, or

price, of the flows of energy, so that money flows in the opposite

direction to the flow of energy. Each import has an energy value,

Natural energy inflowing is the work of nature, such 'as sunlight, winds,

waves, and tides, that the people of Lee County receive benefit from.

The inflow labeled Fuels is all the fuel such as gasoline, heating oil,

natural gas, and the fuel used to generate electricity. The inflow of

Food is the calorie value of the food consumed in Lee County plus all

the fossil fuel energy it took to grow, process, and transport it.

The Energy Value of the goods and materials imported is all the fossil

fuel energy consumed to make and transport the goods to Lee County.

The exports are calculated in the same manner.

The diagram, then, is an energy demand diagram, as well as a

balance of payments diagram. We can now better understand from what

sources Lee County, "as a system" gets its money, and how it spends

it. Consider, for example, that 22% of the county's income comes from

tourist expenditures, another 38% comes from transfer payments (pen-

sions, social security, and earning from outside Lee County), and 20%

is derived from the sale of manufactured products, agricultural products,

and fish products,

It is interesting to note how this money is spent for incoming

energies, and the quantities of energy that Lee County demands. Today

as energy continues to be in relative short supply we are asked again

and again to lower our consumption, stop wasting energy. A look at

our balance of payment diagram shows us where the real energy wastes

are. The flow labeled Fuel is all the direct energy (gasoline, nat-

ural gas, Bunker "C" oil for electricity, diesel fuel, etc.) that Lee
County uses. It's equal to 75.8 x 10 kcal; or in barrels of oil,

it 's equal to about 52 million barrels of oil per year. Now consider

the flow labeled Goods and Materials and notice its amount compared to

the direct fuels used by Lee County. This flow is calculated by adding

up all the energies that go into the goods and materials used within

the County, things like cars, furniture, cosmetics, and even clothing

have an energy cost. This flow is nearly equal to that of the direct

energy, So if one wanted to truly conserve energy, conserving energy

in the form of consumable goods is necessary as well.

In the diagram we see that over 75% of the income to Lee County

is derived from tourist expenditures and transfer payments. This money

filters its way through the economy and eventually is used to buy the

things that are imported from other areas. These two sources of money

may be subject to extreme fluctuations in the near future as the national

economy continues to show signs of leveling. Decreases in the number

and expenditures of tourists can be expected since vacations are ex-

pensive items we may soon have to do without, And consider what happens

if the costs of goods continues to rise, and those fixed incomes of

social security and pension funds don1t rise accordingly. A deficit

will result, In other words, less fuels, food, and goods can be bought

for the same income. Lee Countians will have to decrease their standard

of living.

The diagram in Figure 3 shows us the workings of the "system;"

or where Lee County gets its money and thus how it buys the energy and

materials necessary for the lifestyles of the people. Some people may

say that they don't work directly in the tourist industry, and therefore

fluctuations in the income from tourist expenditures will have little

effect on their lives. But in reality, all of Lee Countyis very de-

pendent on tourism. Think, for instance, of howone tourist dollar

spent for lodging filters its way thru the economy, The motel operator

may spend this dollar for maintenance materials at the local hardware

store, who in turn pays a part of it to his employee, who in'turn

spends it on a movie, and so on through the economy, paying wages,

and turning over goods from seller to consumer until eventually the

entire dollar is sent out of the county to pay for imported goods and

fuel. The diagram in Figure 4 illustrates this concept,

The income of $684.6 million is obtained by the sale of products,

tourist expenditures, and transfer payments. It flows into the "storage"

of money of Lee County. It then turns over within the economy (the

dashed circle going clockwise within the solid line indicates this)

buying all the goods and services necessary. This turnover is the

gross county product, and is equal to $755,2 million. Everytime the

money goes around inside, a little bit is sent out to buy goods and

fuelsthat are consumed within, Eventually all the income is spent to

obtain imports.

8 \

Pugc//,4~v ~AIE9.cy
- - -

an\4 .-Ir4v Flows by Source.

FIG. 4. A Model of the Main Features of Lee County
Summarized from Fig. 4. The economic vitality
is generated by the interplay of assets with
energy sources and the circulation of money
in part of the system.

The imported goods and fuels are represented by the solid-line

coming into the county from the circle labeled "Purchased goods, ser-

vices, and fuels." They have some work done on them. This is repre-

sented by the pointed block with the "X" inside (or multiplier). This

work is the transportation, processing, and energy costs of advertising

and selling the products. From there they flow into the large storage

labeled "assets." Things like furniture, cars, and nondurable goods all

are added to the assets of the county until they either depreciate

(indicated by the flow out the bottom of the assets storage) or are

used to obtain more goods and fuels (indicated by the solid line that

flows to the left from the assets tank back to the multiplier). Some

is exported in return for which Lee County receives a dollar payment.

(indicated by the flow up and to the right to the circle labeled Income).

So we see from this diagram and the proceeding one how dependent

on energy we really are, and further we see that, in Lee County's par-

ticular case, the input of 75% of the needed materials and energies is

being paid for from twb sources that are vulnerable to shifts in na-

tional economic stability. Agricultural, industrial, and fishery sales,

three sources of income that are somewhat dependable, amount to only

20% of the total dollar income, and thus help to buy only 20% of the

total energy used by Lee County,

Computer Simulation Model

A model of Lee County's main features was conceptualized and is

shown in Figure 5, A model of a system such as the one in Figure 5 is

believed to contain all the major features and interactions within the

economy and thus is helpful in visualizing how the system works.


Le E

'5Y 57I-N


7-- #
,.rb Y677At5

Fig. 5. Simulation Model of Lee County showing major compartments
and interacting fliw' of -ren-les (1973). See Table A-1 for sources and

A computer simulation of the county model was made to predict

future alternatives under two energy input conditions representing

possible external energy availabilities, The first was for declining

energy availability and the second for level energy (or a constant

source of) input. The model contains the major components of natural,

agricultural, and urban developed land; each with structure components

and the lines or flows of interaction between the contributions that

the natural systems make to attract fossil fuel energies, and the ac-

tion of regional image in attracting tourists and new residents are the

overall constraints on growth of the system. The storage labeled

"Government" is the government structure (buildings, machines, and

control facilities) that act as regulators and "pumps" on overall

stability and growth of the system.

In general, the results show curves (Figures 6 and 7) with rapid

growth,and then leveling and steady state because exprenal flows of

needed materials and energies are finite and become limiting. As the

city grows, land is transferred from the natural sector to urban and

agricultural uses and, as a result, the natural productivity decreases

to such a point that it no longer can provide the needed support re-

quired for stability of the urban system. This trend supports a con-

cept that is now gaining considerable public attention that there is

an optimum amount of development in any region that will maximize the

total value of the region.

Image is a particularly sensitive component in this system for it

controls the flows of people into and out of the region. In this model

image is generated in proportion to interaction (product of assets of

nature), As the image grows from 1940 to 1980, more and more people


Maximum Values

o o / 0 Fossil Fuels
. X x *--Ag. Structure S?
Sc ro 0 -People PI
City Structure S3

S2 S3 .EE Cl

1900 1940 1980 2020 2060 2100

Maximum Values

SC --
I---Natural Land L(
lo Ag. Land L 2

\"" ..---Image I1
Ai 1., -City Land L3

Figure 6. Simulation results of decreasing fossil fuel input.

1900 1940 1980 2020 2060 2100

Maximum Values

'Fossil Fuels

-Ag. Structure S2
*People P1
"City Structure S,
"Control C,

-Ag. Land L2
-Natural Land LI
Image 1I
City Land L3

Maximum Values

Figure 7. Simulation results of leveled input of fossil fuels with
added growth of urban structure.

are "pumped" into the area until the system starts reversing. Image

then drops off very quickly for it is relying on the work done by the

urban sector and there remains little natural productivity to support

it. As the image declines and other regions' images remain (or become)

higher, people begin an out migration and new tourist/residents search

out other regions adding to the continued decline of the area.

Particular consequences can be drawn from the results as common

sense explanations of the output, but the general trends obtained are

supported by previous models of man and nature (see Forrester, 1969;

Meadow, et al., 1972; and Odum, 1971). The trend indicates that there

is a maximum development of the region under all external energy con-

ditions availabilitiess) and that further development produces a down-

ward trend in the quality of the overall system of man and nature.

The maximum development, or carrying capacity, is different under both

conditions depending on the amount of fossil fuels available to support

man and provide the needed technologies as his numbers become more dense.

A diagram of the external energy sources of Lee County and the ac-

companying money exchanges is given in Figure 8c. The solid lines in

the diagram are the flows of goods and energies, all expressed in fossil

fuel equivalents that cross Lee County's boundaries. This method of

accounting is used to express the energy budget requirements of a re-

gion to maintain productivity. It also enables us to better understand

and quantify the "free work of nature,"

In many cases, this free work goes unnoticed, and unused by man;

but as the costs of fossil fuels continue to increase, more and more

emphasis will be placed on its effective utilization. Air conditioning may

give way to natural ventilation, domestic hot water and space heating

16 ;

may utilize solar energies, and agricultural practices may use-less

fossil fuel energy for maintaining productivities. One method of

expressing the relative energy into a region is with a ratio of the

fossil fuel energy input to resident natural energy flow, In Lee

County, the fossil fuel energies are 26.0 x 1012 kcal/yr, while the

natural energy in is equal to 13,73 x 1012 kcal FFE/yr or a ratio

of 1.9:1.

This investment ratio expresses the level of subsidy a region adds

to its natural energies to do the work of producing goods and services.

Figure 8 compares the "investment ratio" for the United States (Figure 8a),

the south Florida region as a whole (Figure 8b), and Lee County (Figure

8c). Lee County still has a lower investment ratio than the national

average, With lower ratios the level of natural subsidy is higher.

Should the availabilities of energy change, "standard of living" will

not be reduced as much as other areas, for the region has more natural

energies to help offset decreases in fossil fuel with rising prices.

Regions with higher ratios, reflecting higher subsidy, (Dade County

has a ratio of 53:1) may suffer sharper reductions in "standard of

living" should energy supplies continue to be limited.

To offset dislocation, and reductions in standard of living, re-

gions with high ratios should seek ways of lowering the fossil fuel

subsidy by making more efficient use of free natural energies. Continued

growth of population and urban densities only aggravate conditions, since

energy expenditure per capital increases as densities rise,

Increased densities, while lowering transportation costs, require

higher subsidy in maintenance and control of the overall system. More

energy per capital must be utilized for fire and police protection, general

7~sisd Aa~ ~Y

* ~ z. ~

I .


Estimation of Carrying Capacity:

Resident Energy x Investment Ratio

(13.7x1012) (2.5) = 34.25xl012 kcal

% Increase over Present Value

= 32% .
FIG. 8.- Investment Ratios for (a) United States
(b) South Florida
(c) Lee County

community services, solid waste removal and sewage treatment, as well

as entertainment and escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Regions might insure long term economic vitality and high quality of

life by increasing local industrial bases that use local resources,

stimulating local agricultural productivity without increasing mecha-

nization and fertilization, decreasing dependence on imports of goods

and relying on locally produced items, and relying on the free, re-

newable energies of the sun and winds for "conditioning" of interior

environments, as well as decreasing intercity transportation costs by

decentralization of commercial sectors.

The carrying capacity for best economic development may be esti-

mated for the level of fuels now available by multiplying resident

energy flows by the investment ratio of 2.5. The calculations in Fig-

ure 8 show that it may be feasible for Lee County to attract a 55% in-

crease in purchased fuels, goods and services. This should not be

construed to mean that the county may increase the present population

by 55%, for there is increasing evidence that costs for services and

increasing population densities do not exhibit a linear relationship.

The energy costs associated with increasing population densities may

increase by some greater function, so that a 50% increase in population

may require a 75% increase in fuel consumption to provide necessary

services, It is also important to note that if per capital consumption

of fuels, goods and services continues to increase; population in-

creases should be even less. The carrying capacity for best economic

development indicates the level of purchased energies that may be at-

tracted, and the region maintain competitive position, Growth of the

region then should be a balanced and diversified pattern of industry,

agriculture and population.

Water is one of the most important energies that impinges

on Lee County. The maintenance of high quality water for consumption

by populations is becoming increasingly difficult as aquifers are

depleted by overpumpage and saline waters are drawn in from the Gulf.

Currently, Lee County uses approximately 24 million gallons

of water per day for commercial, industrial and residential uses.

An additional 44 million gallons per day during the growing seasons are

used by agriculture from aquifers that are not suitable for consumption

by populations. Much of the residential, commercial and industrial

water used is pumped from the upper Hawthorn aquifer- It has been calculated

recently from well records that this aquifer is experiencing in places

a draw down of 5 feet per year. The city of Ft. Myers has abandoned the

use of deep aquifer waters in favor of using water from the Caloosahatchee

River, sprayed over the well field, allowed to percolate through the

soils for cleansing and then pumped up again and treated for use.

Sanibel Island now uses 1.25 million gallons of water per day provided

from desalination of brackish water. With increased population growth

the ability to provide fresh water for residential, commercial and

industrial use will become increasingly more energy expensive.

Desalination of brackish waters is extremely energy intensive requiring

11.7 Kwh of electricity for every 1000 gallons produced. The equivalent

amount of electricity required to build and maintain the plant increases

this to 20 Kwh for every 1,000 gallons for the life of the plant.

Proper management of the present system may help to

alleviate the necessity for energy intensive water supply systems.

Water conservation programs could be initiated and alternate uses of

existing sources could be investigated; for instance, it has been

estimated that roughly 50% of the present public supply needs "runsoff"

the lands through canals and ditches. While this may not have a high

enough quality for drinking water it could serve as recharge potential

and irrigation for lawns and agriculture.

An important factor and strongly related to this problem, is the

proper management of surface waters and shallow "water table" aquifer.

Inspection of the land use maps for the primitive and present conditions

reveals the extent of drainage that has occurred throughout the county.

In the primitive condition, as discussed earlier, the wet season rains

at times unindated portions of the land area of the county, and slowly

receded as the network of marshes and sloughs passed excess water to the

estuaries. As development occurred throughout the county, a network of

major canals and secondary ditches were constructed to prevent periodic

flooding. The construction of these canals was done by property owners

to prevent flooding of their lands. The hydrologic nature of the

surface aquifer however "knows no boundary;" so drainage of one area

affects surrounding areas as well. There has been little research to

date on the extent of drainage in lands adjacent to canals, and the

extent depends greatly on the type of soils present; however, preliminary

calculations indicate that water table drawdown can extend as much as a

mile to either side of a canal in adjacent lands.

The drawdown of the water table has adverse effects on natural

vegetation, increases costs for irrigation in pasture lands, requires

irrigation in vegetable and fruit lands and creates hotter microclimates.

The wet season rains are shunted off effectively, but during the long

dry season the "storage" of water in the shallow aquifer is drained off

as well. Natural vegetation that depends on high water tables such as


cypress and marsh systems show decreased productivity by as much as 40%

when drained. Over a period of years this may lead to their elimination

from the landscape as frequency of fire increases and conditions change

to a dryer environment where species that are adapted to dryer conditions

can invade.

Pasture lands and vegetable farms benefit form having high water

tables as the costs for irrigation are kept at a minimum; however,

unindation, especially of vegetable farms cannot be tolerated. Pasture

land can sustain short periods of flooding without great adverse effects.

In these cases then, the maintenance of higher water-tables could

accrue an advantage to man as some costs could be reduced.

The micro climate of developed areas is affected greatly by the

vegetation surrounding structures. Current research indicates that the

"energetic value" of one cypress tree in cooling the micro climate by

transpiration (the process of water evaporation from leaves) is

equivalent to 6 room air conditioners. With lowered water tables,

transpiration is reduced, and thus microclimates are hotter. It is

adventageous then, to leave as much of the natural vegetation as possible

in developed areas, and to maintain high ground water levels for efficient

heat removal through transpiration as well.

The following section outlines a simulation of the water budget of

Lee County with data now available. Much detailed field work is needed

to provide the necessary data that would make simulations of this nature

more accurate.

Figure 9 is a pictorial diagram of the hydrologic cycle. It

shows there are three main sources of water to Lee County. The first

and most prominent is rainfall; it falls on the lands after being

evaporated from the gulf, and surface waters of the lands, South

Florida has a wet and dry season so that the rainfall is not evenly

distributed throughout the year, The wet season extends from May to

October, and in those 6 months, 75 %, or about 40 inches out of the

total 53" will fall in the average year, There also seems to be a

pattern to the wet seasons as well,., with about every 7 seasons

wetter than the average. So the pattern suggests 3 -or 4 years of

drier seasons, and 3 or 4 years of wetter seasons.

The second source of water to Lee County is surface flow, the most

prominent of which is the Caloosahatchee River. But there is also sur-

face water runoff during the wet seasons from Charlotte and Hendry

Counties. The Caloosahatchee River originates at Lake Okeechobee where

its flow is controlled by the Central and Southern Flood Control District.

The amount of water in Lake Okeechobee is controlled so that during times

of high water inflow (wet season) the gate to the Caloosahatchee River

is opened wider than usual to help keep the lake at the proper stage.

During the dry season, it is important to maintain as much water storage

as possible within the lake, so the flow into the Caloosahatchee River

is reduced. So Lee County receives plenty of water thru the Caloosahatchee

River during the wet season, and little during the dry. Instead of

helping the water situation, this pattern of river flow aggravates the

condition by adding additional surface waters during peak rainy months

helping to cause flooding in areas immediately adjacent to the river.

And during the dry season, there is little flow and thus little available

Missing Page 24
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water to help recharge low groundwater tables,

The third inflow of water comes deep in the ground. Little is

known about the deep aquifers, There is some spotty data on their

thickness, and how much water they hold, but this could vary consi-

derably over the entire area of the county, The cross section in

Figure 10 indicates what some good estimates of the thickness of

each aquifer is, and its placement. Water in the aquifer flows from

places where there is high pressure to areas of low pressure, and is

recharged into the aquifer where it is close to the surface.

The Upper Hawthorne aquifer is the major source of potable water

for Lee County. It is a layer of porus sand limestone sandwiched between two

layers of impervious, or nearly impervious clay, The water is re-

charged into the aquifer in the northern part of the state and flows

south. There is little recharge of the Hawthorne aquifer in Lee

County because of the depth of the aquifer, and the impervious layer

that lies between it and the ground surface.

Excessive pumping of the aquifer can create a cone of depression,

or a low pressure area. If the pressure gets too low saltwater, which

is below the aquifer, and has a pressure, begins to move upward, and

inward from the gulf. Continued pumping at the same spot will even-

tually contaminate the aquifer at that point. The well must then be

moved further inland where there is no "saltwater intrusion." But

again if the pumping rate is too high, eventually the new well will

become salty as well.

For the purposes of visualizing the hydrologic system it can be

divided into 3 storage of water, each with inflows dnd outflows (Fig. 11). T

first is the surface water storage whose inflows are rain, and overland

25 ?

Geologic column showing lithology, aquifers, and typical gamma
formations underlying McGregor Isle.
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( S7 5 r ;. / . u

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ray log of


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flow, This storage contains all the water that is above the ground

surface, Included in it is the Caloosahatchee River, water in cypress

swamps, marshes and ponds, and the water that periodically floods the

normally dry lands as well, The second storage is the shallow ground-

water aquifer, or water table aquifer, Its source or inflow is re-

charge from the surface waters. And the third is the deep aquifers.

Their source or inflow is the rate of flow across the boundary of the


A diagram that depicts the hydrologic system is given in Figure 11

The circles to the left represent sources of inflowihg water; the

lines are flows, and the tank symbol represents a storage of water.

Each storage is a balance between inflows and outflows. Some may be

decreasing because of actions by man such as pumping from deep aqui-

fers, drainage of surface waters from swamps, and drainage of shallow

aquifer by channelization.

The model in Figure 12 is an elaboration of the previous model

for the purposes of simulation on a computer. Simulation helps to

perceive the changes throughout the entire system over time. Different

conditions can be assumed, such as increased pumpage for public supply,

decreased recharge, increased runoff etc. and the model can then be

simulated to understand the effects of such actions. The graphs given

in Figures 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 are the results of the analog

simulation of the model.

The analog model was used to develop insight into the effects

of water management schemes, For example, impoundment of surplus water

from the Caloosahatchee River for later release and recharge of the

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18 ./


Figure 12.








Precipitation,(a) evapotranspiration,(b) and water usage,(c)
as simulated by the analog computer, showing wet and dry
seasons and water use by man as being out of phase.

(a) Water on pervious land

(b) Water on less pervious land


- ^^*%%2^ ^ N


figure 13, Results of analog simulation of water storage on land
areas, showing the rise and fall of surface water within
the wet and dry seasons,











(b) Increased 20%

(c) Increased 40%


Figure 14,

Results of analog simulation of water storage in river area
showing the present fluctuatios(ia) and an increase of ri-
ver height of 20%(b) and 40% c with different regulation

Surface water availability

(a) Present level .

Ground water recharge -

(a) Present pumpage and recharge level --

(b) Present pumpage plus 20% recharge increased -

(c) 50% pumpage increased plus 40% recharge increased -


Figure 15.

Results of analog simulation of water storage in shallow
aquifer showing the present decrease in aquifer height (a)
and increases in recharge rates of 20%(b) and 40%(c) with
their corresponding decreases in depletion of the aquifer.

S 300

0 .
c 240



S 80

Around water discharge

(a) Present pumpage and discharge level

(b) Present pumpage plus 20% seepage loss

(c) 50% pumpage increased plus 40% upward leakage





1 2 3 4 5

Figure 16.

Results of analog simulation of water storage in deep
aquifer hg wing the present trend of depletion of this
aquifer, a the present condition with a 20% seepage loss,
and an increase of 50% pumpage(c).

3 -

groundwater when needed may be one of the possibilities that Lee

County will benefit from, Different levels in surface water avail-

ability were simulated and are displayed in Figure 14. With these

increases of 20% and 40% of surface water, respectively, the corres-

ponding water level fluctuations in the shallow aquifer are shown in

Figure 15. The water level declines about 6 cm per year with 20% re-

charge increase comparing with 15 cm per year at the present level;

with a 40% increase in recharge the water level shows a more stable

behavior even through pumpage has increased by 50%.

The direct outflow of groundwater may not be a major factor in Lee

County, of more significance to the county is seepage out of the ground

into lakes and streams. As channelization and drainage continues, this

becomes even greater significance and through channelization, the

groundwater becomes surface water and is contributed directly to runoff.

It is simulated by 20% increase in groundwater discharge in conjunction

with a 20% increase in runoff, The graph in Figure 16 shows that

the declining rate of piezometric head is increased from about 30 cm to

60 cm per year. With increased drainage, moreover, the problem of sal-

ine water movement into shallow aquifer by upward leakage into deep

aquifer is of considerable magnitude in Lee County. As the head in the

aquifers are lowered by pumping and drainage canals, the quantity of

saltwater discharged into the aquifers will increase. This phenomenon

has been simulated by assuming a 40% increase in groundwater loss with

a 50% increase in pumpage and a 20% increase in runoff, The piezometric

head is declining at the rate of about 100 cm per year as displayed in

Figure 16.

These simulations are approximations at best. More accurate data

is needed to more accurately depict the water budget of the county,

however, trends can be drawn from the simulations. At current rates

of pumping and runoff through canals, Lee County is losing water from

storage. By increasing the recharge rate (this can be accomplished by

retaining wet season rains on the land rather than allowing them to

run off quickly to the Gulf) the storage does not decline as quickly

and could even be maintained at a steady state if pumpage were balanced

with recharge,

The uses of land are strongly related to the quantities and

qualities of both water and energy available to Lee County. To maintain

sufficient high quality water for instance, it was suggested that water

tables be restored to or nearly to the primitive condition. This will

change the uses that some lands may have had. If energies continue to

decline in their availability, and costs continue to climb, different

organizations of development could occur with high density clusters of

development giving way to more spread out, less dense arrays of

populations utilizing the abundant free energies of nature

The lands of a region, and their use represent the consumption of

a finite resource. If the region chooses to use them in such a manner

as to destroy their value for food and fiber production, less overall

value in the long run could be the result, for in the process, the region

will increasingly depend on outside sources for needed materials,

energies and foods. On the other hand, the region may wish to maintain

this finite resource, by protecting it from over exploitation. Programs

for water management, soil protection and development of less sensitive

areas then become a necessary part of the planning process.

In this next section we outline recommendations for the best use

of the land for Lee County. The use of the land is so tightly interwoven

with energy and water use that we cannot give suggestions for one without

the other.


Restore natural groundwater levels in drained areas throughout the

county by dechannelizing. Filling of some present channelizations should

be done so they serve no drainage role with ordinary wet season rains.

Areas within existing development should reevaluate their drainage

patterns as to the necessity for continuing groundwater drawdown of 6

and 8 feet. With minor alterations of existing systems the groundwater

levels might be raised for better water retention and the systems still

function as fast discharge during exceptional rains. New developments

should explore the use of swales or spreader waterways, interceptor

waterways, and the combined use of vegetation management of canals and

other control measures to insure retention of groundwater levels (Fig 17).

Marshes and Cypress as Flood Control

The concept of using existing flood plains, marshes and cypress

swamps as flood control mechanisms and water resource unit for man should

be further tested (Figs. 18 & 19). The possibility that these wetlands

could be used for water table control, water conservation to provide

natural buffers and scenic easements and possibly for tertiary treatment

of sewage may require a reversal of the present trend to drain and

develop them. During wet periods they serve as receiving areas for

lateral and sheet flow of excess water, rechargers for groundwater

aquifers and filters for valuable nutrients. During dry periods the

productivity goes down (cypress drop all their leaves) and the short

water supply is protected by very low evapotranspiration rates. Their

incorporation into development planning may not require lower population

densities and lower economic dividends and when calculated against their

associated value as buffers and water control devices, a long-run

savings may result because of increased productivity of the overall

system of amn and nature. A moratorium may be needed for any further

drainage of these systems.

Water movement is toward the south.
during rainy season water fills
marshes and ponds, First, excess
is passed to the slough, then slow
passed downstream, and eventually
to the Gulf.

A. IL -

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-. .... h.-^ n-f

natural ret
creased run
pavement ca
through can

Ly season, rain is
quickly, areas of
mention are gone, in-
Loff from houses and
uses increased volume
els, and downstream

Plan for natural retention of
normal rains in marshes and ponds,
with vegetation for nutrient re-
moval and hydrolic head to slow
runoff. Giving in addition
natural scenic'values.

Figure 17. Schematic of alternative development that utilizes
existing natural systems with minor alteration for flood control.

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p. .* 4ry .i 6, /oa^p. L .. E .. ..c i, .. *ik l s d .iked -
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Figure 18. Schematic diagrams of water levels for the original
and present conditions with future alternative of intermediate
water levels.

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CcMAfoi&5 Ae! m y'7m
e^ iMWwL Ded~sTe


Figure 19. Schematic plan for diversified development, of five different
housing types and commercial area. Wetlands are undisturbed with inter-
connecting swal.es: that serve as commons area and runoff control. Devel-
opment is In-orp)r e? into overall region as a selfsustaining unit of


1 1 ,

Wetlands as Water Retention Areas

Portions of the county may serve as water retention areas. Instead

of channelization and shunting valuable water to the Bay and Gulf,

areas within the county (Corkscrew, Six Mile Cypress, and others) could

be set aside as water retention areas. Forested retention ponds

(wetlands) reduce surface evaporation by shading in dry season and could

filter nutrients rather than allowing them to flow quickly to the bays

and streams causing heavy nutrient loads that may result in eutrophication

of these systems. A hydrological study group should be established to

evaluate Lee County's water situation and recommend alternatives.

Restoration of Natural Vegetation

The feasibility of restoring natural vegetation to areas that have

been scraped in preparation for development, and the possibility of

letting vegetation regulate the slope of water in drainage canals should

be studied. Indigenoud vegetation may serve as soil retainers against

wind and water erosion, as means of increasing friction to slow down

runoff and recharge shallow aquifers, as aids to man's systems by

providing a cooler microclimate, and as productive "support systems' for

man, instead of remaining barren for many years waiting for development.

Mangroves as Natural Buffers and Bulkheads

The restoration of shoreline mangrove systems should be considered

in those areas where they have been removed. Any further development

should be discouraged, and the incorporation of these natural groundwater

filters and storm erosion protectors into the overall planning scheme

should be encouraged. Mangrove lines estuaries are often described as

the nursery grounds for many species that later migrate out to open

waters as part of the basis for the large commercial and sport fishing

industry of the area. Further, they serve as natural protectors against

heavy currents and waves during hurricanes that may be cheaper than man-

made bulkheads and seawalls.

Overall Environmental Concern

An overriding concern with the state of the "natural support systems"

of Lee County should be initiated and incorporated in all planning schemes

and decisions. The natural environment not only supports man in a bio-

logical and psychological sense (through release from the complex multi-

sensory urban world) but by economic dividends through the tourist, fishing,

agricultural, and lumber industries as well.

Beach areas and the back beach dunes are a critical part of the

economy; the tourist and retirement populations are heavily oriented

to their use. All development should be aware of the sensitive nature

of beach and dune systems. Attempts to alter the beach line, to change

its shifting pattern and steady sand supply may result in erosion problems

or build up of unwanted beach. The dune areas serve as wave protection

during hurricanes, but are extremely sensitive systems which require special

protection against overuse and destruction.

All wetland systems are apparently very productive systems and, thus,

have large value to man, and in light of their future potential use as

water resource devices, protection against incompatible uses should be


It might be beneficial to establish development regulations that limit

all development to 50% of the land area encompassed, thereby providing

productive readily available "back-up" systems as man's energies change.

Urban Alternatives

Recognize and work towards a leveled or steady state economy. If

there are general shortages of power developing in the United States,

either because fuels are unavailable or because fuels are more expensive

to get, the economy may enter an inflationary state. With fuels costing

more, the amount of work done for each unit of money spent is less,

requiring an increase in costs for goods and services. Then the monies

available to tourism, retirement incomes, and investment will diminish.

If there are national leveling tendencies, they have a sharply amplified

effect on Florida. If development occurs during economically favorable

times, when the costs of goods and services are relatively low, decreased

economic position, when goods and services are more expensive, may make

environmental costs (water, electricity, and sewage systems) too high,

thus lowering the carrying capacity of the region.

By recognizing that leveling is required eventually, the county may

make moves toward insuring economic stability and maintaining a competitive

condition by keeping further growth related to environmental resources,

readjusting densities of present development and redistribution of existing

concentrations of energy utilization. If done before the county is

forced to level by water shortages, fuel shortages, or high population

densities, there is a margin of safety, or buffer, against severe fluctuations

of the county's economy through better use of environmental resources.

As land becomes more scarce and costs per acre continue to rise, there

is the tendency toward high rise development. The resulting high concen-

trations of people, cars, energy use, and environmental loads may make

a less secure economic status, if there is a national recession in fuel

and a resulting economic inflation.

To achieve a leveled or steady state economy there are several

alternative guidelines that could be implemented through existing

democratic processes.

1. Provide limits to high power density usages such as high rises,

high density condominium developments and the concentrations of

heavy industry. When energy concepts are applied to the urban

world, we find that high energy concentration results in more energy

loss per unit of work done than do lower concentrations.

2. Maximize diversity of the region on the principle that added value

emerges from the interactions of a variety of land use types in the same

area (Fig. 19). Large scale developments done on the mass production

bases should be discouraged since they work against this principle.

Since value or quality of life emerges from having a variety of

human and natural activity available, this principle applies within

any scale system from the variety of activities of a park to the

variety of land use systems of a region.

3. Develop incentive to maintain and improve existing areas of development

through higher taxes on new development, lower taxes on non-developed

lands and extend municipal services to existing systems before newly

developed areas.

4. Require that existing large scale developments maintain more of a

"closed system"' approach to provide the necessary support functions

for their population and further development. This should guarantee

a high diversity of land use types.

5. Establish special incentives for the development of low energy

communities and habitats that maximize the available natural energies

as well as fossil fuel energies through a sympathetic relationship

with the surrounding environment.


The process of planning has as its main goals the enhancement of the

quality of the existing environment. Implicit in this process is the

assumption that the existing environment for man has already a high quality,

and the maintenance and enhancement of that quality is the objective. How-

ever, this quality is measured from the system's standpoint only. In other

words, the measurement for quality is based only on what's good for man's

urban system (and its social, economic, and cultural systems). It then

follows that "what's good for man is good for the entire earth," but the

reverse is actually true -- "what's good for the earth is good for man."

Until recent years man's influence had little effect on the overall

systems of Lee County. Man's numbers and the energy he had at his disposal

were small compared to those of nature. But no more. His population and

the energy at his disposal have now reached such magnitude that very

special attention concerning his impact on the natural systems of Lee

County must be included in any planning methodology.

It's time that man begins to design with nature, rather than in spite

of it. This will require a new philosophy, a new architecture, and, above

all, a new planning methodology. Man's erroneous philosophy that he and

he alone controls his destiny will have to be re-examined, for he will

have to recognize that his outside energy factors require that he contin-

ually adapt his culture to them and not the reverse. His architecture

must change: no longer can his architectural form reflect an expanding

fossil fuel energy base and be energy wasteful, but it must instead

reflect and effectively maximize the inputs of both types of energy

sources, the natural energies as well as fossil fuels. Present planning

methodologies will have to be altered. Planning and developmental

strategies in the past have not been responsive to the natural environment

and its contribution to the man-made world, except from a very limited

viewpoint where aesthetic and recreational values (with their associated

economic dividends) have been sufficient to justify preservation of

certain areas.

General System Understanding

Man's urban world is the most complex collection of components known.

It could be described as a gigantic web of interactions, so many and so

complex that understanding is nearly impossible. However, to design and

plan for it requires understanding; as in anything, an understanding of

the system at hand is a prerequisite to any sort of tinkering if real

progress toward a solution of its ills is desired.

But our cities are not understandable using current approaches to

planning design. Our present methods have taken a trial and error

approach, leaving us with more errors than solutions. How then can this

be accomplished?

One approach that sheds some light on the complex problems we face

is the General System Theory. Here we assume, rather than each component

and its interaction with any given system be a special case unlike any

other, it adheres to some basic principles that are true for all systems.

And we look to those systems that have permanence on their side for

guidelines as to what these principles might be. This then allows for

simplification of the complexity of the system and provides one with

tried and tested principles of operation. We gain insight as to the

operation of the system at hand.

An Energy Basis for Life

Energy is the driving force of all life. Just as the plant commu-


nity requires sunlight for continued existence, so do man's more complex

communities of industry and commerce require an uninterrupted flow of

energy. The amount and concentration of energy to any process determines

the spatial size, the form and the complexity of the processing system.

Think for instance of a windmill and an electric motor.
Both are systems set up to process energy into a similar
function, that of rotation of a shaft to perform some useful
work. However, their energy sources are of two different
concentrations -- electric energy, a concentrated form of
power, and wind energy, a more dilute form...therefore, a
'corresponding difference in size and complexity is expected.
The windmill is much larger and with fewer and less complex
pieces than the electric motor. Its energy source is dilute,
requiring its mechanism which catches and processes that
energy to be large. -

The type and concentration of the energy available to any system

dictates the size, form, and complexity of that system.

Change the energy input to a system and if it is at all
possible, the system will correspondingly change to process
it. Quite often that change is not to the benefit of the
original system, especially if the energy input change is
too radical. Thank, for instance, of that electric motor,
and set it outside to convert wind energy into rotation.

These concepts cut across all system levels. Whether one speaks of

abstract systems such as governmental, social, or religious bodies as units,

geographical regions as units; urban centers as units; or even individual

biological bodies as units, these concepts are maintained:

FIRST: They are all systems that can be isolated, their energy
inputs, processes, exchanges, and outputs can be diagrammed.

SECOND: The complexity, form, and size of any system is dependent
upon the energy available.

THIRD: Any change in the input energy requires a corresponding
change in the form, complexity, and size of the original


Energy is the common denominator, by which we can understand all

systems. Without it, we have no system. Without a driving force to

maintain life, there is no life.

Science, through years of detailed microscopic and dissectual

investigation of the "parts" has provided us with two laws of energy, by

which all energy users behave. And since all life is an energy user, we

have two laws that all life must adhere to.

The First Law of Thermodynamics

According to the first law of thermodynamics, which is the familiar

law of conservation of energy, energy is neither created nor destroyed

in any process. It is merely transformed from one form to another. If

a system gains or loses energy, then an equal amount of energy must be

transferred in some form to or from the surroundings (it is important to

distinguish between the "system," i.e., the collection of matter under

study, and its "environment" or "surroundings," i.e., the rest of the

universe; during any process, energy may pass from the system to the

surroundings or from the surroundings to the system).

All processes require energy and give off an equal amount of energy

in another form; thus the energy into a system equals the energy out.

The energy in may be used to do some useful work or it may be converted

to structure. In both cases, most of the energy leaves the system as

degraded energy (usually heat). For instance, our urban systems use

fossil fuels; some burnt directly in automobiles, where it is released

in the form of heat; some is converted to electricity, giving off heat

in the process. These energies are used to run machines and provide

light, and in the process all the energy is converted to heat, a lower

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grade energy that is not capable of doing much work. Figure 1 is a simple

example of the process of electricity generation. Three kcals. fossil

fuels are converted into electricity, 2.6 are lost in heat, the .6 k.cal.

coming from the urban structure tank is the indirect energy use of mate-

rials and services. The process yields 1 klcal. of electricity for each

3.6 kcals. consumed. Food and goods are energies as well.

Food and goods are energies as well. Foot is energy to the body

and is converted to heat. Goods are energies (they are made with and

transported with energy) that allow us to consume even more energy.

The first law says that all energy is constant, it can neither be

created nor destroyed. From this, then, we see that pollution in all

its forms is nothing more than energy; too much in the wrong place at

the wrong time. Thermal "pollution" of estuarine bays from power

plants is leftover energy from a. conversion of fossil fuel energy to a

more concentrated form, i.e., electricity. Eutrophication of estuaries

and lakes as the result of human wastes is again the leftover energy

from a conversion of food energy into heat for human maintenance. The

energy used in our urban systems is obtained from the surroundings in a

concentrated form, and is give back, in dilute forms (heat) and concen-

trated forms (human and industrial wastes). But always, the energy of

a system and its surroundings is constant.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics

Any system plus its surroundings tends spontaneously towards a

state of increasing entropy, or disorder. It should be emphasized that

the second law makes no predictions about the system only. It must

include an analysis of the entropy changes in both the system and its

surroundings. All increases in order within any "closed system" must

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be accompanied by a corresponding increase in disorder. The second law

can be thought of as the price one must pay to achieve any useful work in

a process. Disorder is the most likely end to all order. Once an ordered

collection of processes is set up, a continued payment must be made to

maintain that order, for it tends spontaneously toward disorder.

The second law determines the ultimate limit of what we can and can-

not do. It tells us that the maintenance of order in the form of life

must result in an increase in disorder in our surroundings. Further, it

tells us that all increases in order and higher levels of energy and

resource consumption to support that order, will automatically result in

increasing disorder in our surroundings.

According to the first law, the energy of the universe remains con-

stant. However, the second law states that as energy is transformed from

one form to another it is degraded into less useful forms and eventually

ends up primarily as heat. Concentrated energy of high quality that has

a high capacity to do useful work ends up as dilute energy not capable of

doing the work required of the former. Figure 2 illustrates the first and

second laws as they pertain to the urban system.

Maximum Power

A. J. Lotka in 1925 stated a theory that has become a general energy

principle. In essence it indicated that the maximization of power for

useful purposes was the main criterion for a successful system. Systems

are forced by competition from other systems into maximizing all their

work toward gaining more input power and using the power gained to insure

a continued uninterrupted maximum power flow. An important aspect of this

principle, however, is that power is not wasted and no component or inter-

action within the system uses more power than is necessary.

Maximizing power then leads to growth in systems that have an expand-

ing power base. As long as the available energies are greater than the

amounts needed for a particular system's functions, the system continues

to "tack on" components and processes that will guarantee continued input

power flows. As we examine "steady state" ecological systems, or systems

with constant input energies, we see another situation entirely. Those

ecological systems that have attained a steady state (sometimes called a

climax) no longer "tack on" new components and interactions but continue

to maximize power by an experimental anticipatory design sequence. They

are continually trying to do more with less, find better ways of process-

ing energies, becoming more efficient by "fine tuning the system." This

does not mean, however, no growth, or a "static" system but, on the

contrary, continual growth by replacement and an over-riding concern with


Succession vs. Climax

As defined, succession means the act or process of following in order

or sequence. In ecological terms it describes the process by which one

plant community succeeds the former from grasses/bushes to a climax

forest. When an area of land is cleared, new plants begin to colonize.

In this situation (according to Lotka's Principle) the system that survives

maximizes power by building rapid, cheap structures. Little attention is

paid to putting energy into regulation organization or diversity of

structures. In the first stages of succession, the ecological systems are

characterized by sameness (low diversity), very cheap structure, and a

rapid turnover. The idea is to cover the ground and maximize power. As

the system continues through time, more and more energy is diverted from

the job of trapping more energy to the roles of regulation and organization.

The system builds more and bigger structure (with a slower turnover time)

and continues to diversify. Complexity does not develop in the first

stages until all available energies are encompassed.

Once the climax stages have been reached, there is no more "net"

growth. There is a high diversity of structure -- structure itself is

very complex. Much more attention is paid to the quality of the system

components rather than quantity. In climax all available energies have

been tapped; there is no longer an expanding energy budget, and, according

to Lotka's principle, power is not wasted. All energy is used. The

system is efficient -- a cyclical system with constant feedback of

materials and energies. There is not "net growth" but growth by replace-

ment and repair.

It seems appropriate to characterize man's technological urban world

as being in a successional state tending toward climax. Energy has been

on the increase and rapid colonization with cheap structure is apparent.

As these energies become "limiting" or constant, we can assume a climax or

leveling off of growth in favor of a "steady state -- no net growth"

system that puts a premium on quality of environment rather than quantity

of structure.

Diversity as a Corollary to Stability

Those systems in nature that maintain a high diversity, by that aspect

are more stable. Inherent in diverse systems is the ability to maintain

production during times of stress. Diversity of components and interactions

within allows reprogramming and adjusting to new environmental circumstances.

If one component is lost, there are many to continue.

At first glance, the urban system of man's technological society seems

very diverse in its individual components as well as in its urban subsystems

(a subsystem of the urban system is any of the components, such as-housing

subdivisions, commercial strips along major roads, industrial parks, etc.).

However, when compared to the flows of energy and the number of possible

different subsystems available to man, we thn see that most urban systems

are made up of many reproductions of a few basic types of subsystems, and

nearly all depend on one energy source, fossil fuels.

Diversity is not only a safeguard for stability, but is the major

constituent of the complexity/image/quality of a system. Diversity means

choice in man's world, and choice is the underlying trait to freedom.

Freedom of movement, as well as choice (the higher the number, the higher

the quality) are what gives any urban system its quality. Today planners

speak of quality of life as some magical phenomenon that happens as systems

grow through various stages of development, and they continue to talk as

the quality depreciates, when the system begins to decline in productivity

until it "dies" as many of our urban cores are doing today. The problems

we experience with decay and blight in our urban systems are largely due

to a lack of diversity -- the inability to adjust and reprogram to changing

situations and use patterns. The life goes out of them.

The classical methods of zoning in practice today seem to be anti-

diversity. They seem to be a negative monopolistic tendency that works

against long-term success of the system. Zoning is the intuitive, "easy

way out" solution to the complex interfact of different types of urban

land use. It seems far more exciting/varied/diverse to put as little

restrictions as possible on the use of land in favor of demands for better

design solutions (architecturally) to the interface of different urban


By the same concepts, the large scale housing development (the bed-

room community) that we have inflicted on our landscapes recently, presents

a similar situation. By "developing" large tracts of land and dedicating

them to one particular "life style," one community system, we are in essence

limiting the choice, cutting the diversity of the whole system. The "planned

community" has built in nonadaptability by very strict land use codes and

deed restrictions. The system is self perpetuating by mortgage systems which

require a 20 to 30 year owner occupancy before the structures are even paid

for. But above all, the entire environmental quality of the region is

stressed by the methods of development. The methods employed in many cases

are to first remove all natural vegetation (reducing the natural system

diveristy) and then either mass building hundreds of homes, or waiting

while individual lot owners decide on what type of several "models" they

will choose for their particular site.

It is important to remember that diversity includes natural as well

as urban subsystems. This then increases the interactions (complexity)

of the system, and at the same time the natural areas are available for

natural buffers having high value asessential elements of our life support

system (both biophysically and psychologically).

Carrying Capacity

Common to the study of populations is the term "carrying capacity."

It refers to the capacity of a particular environment to provide life

sustenance for its population (whether furry animal or human animal). In

the study of animal populations, their dynamics and impacts on natural

environments, it is common to observe the growth and leveling characteristics

shown in the graph in Fig. 3.

The population exhibits the familiar Malthusian exponential growth

until the carrying capacity (the resource limit) of the environment is

reached, at which point there is a leveling off and a balance of population

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with environment resources. Most populations have built-in birth control

mechanisms that sense overcrowding conditions and limit populations auto-

matically. However, some don't and under different environmental condi-

tions these built-in sensing mechanisms sometimes seem to break down. In

these particular instances we witness another common phenomenon known as

overshoot and die back. It is not quite clear what happens to cause an

overshoot, but one thing is clear -- the resource limit can only support

a particular population. Anything more than that will cause a die back

until the carrying capacity is reached.

When population dynamics are simulated on the computer some interest-

ing results are obtained. For any given environment and population the

overshoot and die back can be disastrous to the entire population

depending on the degree of overshoot. The faster the population grows

(the steeper the curve) the harder the die back. In some cases known to

ecologists, the population overshoots so far that complete die back is

observed, then a regrowth. The graphs in Fig. 4 illustrate these points.

The carrying capacity of an environment is not a static "level."

Just as one can raise the carrying capacity of an aquarium full of fish

by adding a subsidy of fish food, man can increase the carrying capacity

of his environment with subsidies of fossil fuel technology. All areas

of urban development have successfully done this. As development proceeds

through the years from rural settlement to high energy urban megalopolis,

more refined and complex fossil fuel technological solutions to the

limited carrying capacity are added to sustain each level of human habita-

tion. The "green revolution" in agriculture, tertiary sewage treatment,

solid waste disposal in land fill operations, aquaducts and pipelines for

water, etc., are all examples of increasing the carrying capacity of an

environment through fossil fuel technology.

But there is a limit. The second law of thermodynamics tells us

that there is an ultimate limit to increases in the level of our carrying

capacities. There is a balance in all systems between order and disorder

and as we increase the order in any system we also increase the disorder

in its surroundings. At best, then, we can manage only to stay one or

two steps ahead. With each increase in our level of carrying capacity

(order) we automatically cause more disorder, requiring additional tech-

nology to maintain our particular level.

As long as we can insure our urban areas a continued (ever increasing,

for, remember, we're only managing to stay one step-ahead) flow of fossil

and/or nuclear energy we can maintain present carrying capacities. Should

the availabilities change, we can expect a corresponding change in the

carrying capacity of our environments.

Systems Imbedded within Systems

Systems understanding of any region can only be achieved through an

understanding of the next larger system, and the relationships that exist

between the system under study and the one it is imbedded in.

Isolation of a region by political boundaries as a system is artifi-

cial, at best. City limits, county boundaries, state borders, etc., are

synthetic, arbitrary lines for jurisdictional reasons only; each is imbedded

in the next larger system and will respond to changes in any flows of

materials and energies that cross the boundary from the larger. For this

reason, one must look to the larger system for possible changes that will

affect the performance of the system understudy. At present, then, any

regional analysis must consider the flows of fossil fuels and associated

materials that corss the region's boundaries, and the possible consequences

of changes in their availability. Consider then:

The Concept of Net Energy

The true value of energy to society is the net energy, or the amount

remaining after the energy costs of getting and concentrating that energy

are substracted.

Many forms of energy that we use to power our urban technological

systems are low grade and must be cncentrated. Much energy has to be

used directly and indirectly to support the machines, people, transpor-

tation systems, etc., to deliver the energy. When supplies were plentiful,

the ratio of yield energy to input energy was high, but as we have to dig

deeper and go farther to sea for oil, extract it from rocks, etc., this

ratio gets smaller. Preliminary calculations show that oil from platforms

at sea has a yield ratio of 20 to 1 at the well head, where older wells on

the mainland had yields of better than 200 to 1. The platform yield does

not include concentration and transportation costs to the site of end use,

which might reduce this ratio to 10 to 1. The smaller the net energy

yield to society, the less growth can be sustained, and only maintenance

and replacement of existing structure is soon possible.

In another form, the concept of net energy can be used to evaluate

proposed alternative energy savers as well. For instance, many cities are

proposing rapid transit systems as alternative ways to save energy. These

should be evaluated from the standpoint of energy input versus the energy

saving. When the energy costs of construction, operation, and the

additional costs of concentrating society (rapid transit systems depend

on a concentrated population for their survival) are summed and compared

to energy use by conventional means of transportation (including the

costs of cleaning the environment of pollutants) the energy savings are

small and in some cases nonexistent.

Proposed public projects of all kinds should be evaluated from an

energy cost benefit point of view. The energy costs and benefits to

society must be scrutinized carefully. As fuels become more limiting;

we can no longer afford to be energy wasteful.


In the proceeding section we have identified the concepts and sys-

tems principles that we feel are the most important operational factors

to be considered if one is truly to devise a "new planning methodology."

In summary, let us reflect and put into perspective the meaning these

concepts have to the overall problem.

With any given energy input, whether it be sunlight, tide action,

dollars, fossil fuels, or the energy of a population of biological units,

there is a maximum size, an optimum form, and an optimum complexity that

the system developed to process that energy can obtain. Thus, if the

energy increases, such as the driving energies of fossil fuels have for

the man-made systems of our globe, then change is constant; continually

developing new form, altering size, and increasing complexity to match

the increasing energy budget. The man-made systems of our globe are

attached to very concentrated forms of energy (fossil fuels) and as such

have very complex structures, very complex forms, and are capable of

processing extreme amounts of energy with very small, but complex units.

These concentrated energies, in the past, have been on the increase,

causing our man-made systems to exhibit a corresponding growth. As long

as there is available (excess) energy, mechanisms will be evolved/developed

attached to use it. Once a ceiling for that energy has been established,

in other words, as soon as the energy source is no longer "unlimited," but

"limited" then and only then will the growth be slowed down or altered.

One either waits for the source to "limit" itself (become more scarce)

or sets "limits" as a safe-guard against uncontrolled growth. Either

way, change of growth (direction) of a system is accomplished much faster

and at less energetic cost by altering the input energies.

With this in mind, to establish control or outside influence upon

a system other than the controls the system has for internal stability,

one must first consider having control of the outside energies that

provide sustenance to that system. In other words, it seems unlikely to

achieve "wholesome and controlled growth" in any system without first a

willingness to set a limit to input energies.

Energy Systems, Growth and Natural Selection

But what is wholesome and controlled growth? As we've mentioned

before, any system with increasing input energies will continue to grow

until the amount of structure and its associated work process matches

the energy input, at which point it will level off and achieve a steady

state (providing the input energies remain constant). Thus, we can say

that the system has no say as to growth or no growth unless it under-

stands the influences of available energy on its processes. Man, as the

earth's information bearer and thinker, is capable of this understanding.

Man attaches value to all things -- to material things, to philo-

sophical and spiritual concepts, and to his own acts -- thus by observa-

tion evaluates all things as to their desirability or undesirability in

relation to his wants and needs. Man has a measuring technique or yard-

stick by which he calculates this "goodness." Until now his yardstick

included the concept of self first and all else after. Therefore, he was

unable to measure anything in a comprehensive way that was for the good

of the entire system of earth. Until very recently, collective man

assumed the position of supreme master of the globe and that he could

steer it in any direction desired. He is now learning that the reverse

is true; that he is a passenger, maybe only a custodian in charge of

information and programming and that in reality he can only adjust his

system to the demands of the much larger systems of earth.

Wholesome and controlled growth, then, not only should be evaluated

from man's position, but in relation to the larger "support systems" of

his world. For the larger system of earth is the final selector and

measure, selecting those systems that work for the benefit of the entire

globe. If he belabors the point and continues to adjust only to his wants

and needs, he'll be selected against and other systems that are more

responsive to the energetic needs and wants of the earth will be chosen.

So wholesome and controlled growth in man's systems is growth that

adjusts to the overall systems of earth and that is cognizant of the

relationship between the environmental systems of a region and the amounts

and complexity of man's.systems sustained by it.

The implications of energy availability on the urban segment of the

"overall system of man and nature" are becoming more apparent as world-

wide shortages, embargos, and demands come and go. It is becoming more

and more apparent that the high-energy urban technological system will be

required to change its utilization of energy, as these concentrated e

energies become even more erratic as availabilities fluctuate. Complete

dependence on energies that may or may not be available in sufficient

quantities may not be advantageous to a healthy economic position. But

an urban pattern that reverses current trends of expanded energy utiliza-

tion toward a steady state no growth system of management and capitalizes

on "free natural energies" available may retain and complement current

economic position by increasing competitive stance. To reverse current


trends and design new form for the urban system requires a new method

of urban design and analysis; one that recognizes the relationships

between energy and form, as well as the relationship of energy utiliza-

tion and the "carrying capacity" of environments to sustain any level

of human habitation.

The following sections outline one such approach. An approach that

utilizes systems diagrams for overall system understanding, a subsystem

classification scheme for understanding component parts of the "overall

system of man and nature" and their interactions, and evaluation tech-

niques that provide insight into values derived from the maximization

of combinations of man and nature into the urban system.

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