City of Palm Coast Partners with Smart North Florida and UF AIS Students on Innovative Project: Embracing Growth & Preserving Paradise

In a forward-thinking initiative, the City of Palm Coast has partnered with Smart North Florida (SNF) and students from the University of Florida’s Association for Information Systems (UF AIS) program on a project titled “Embracing Growth & Preserving Paradise: Traffic, Green Spaces, Heat Islands.” Spearheaded by Clayton Levins, the Executive Director of Smart North Florida, this collaboration brings together the expertise of SNF, the innovative spirit of UF AIS students, and the unique talents of Minuet Greenberg, Kiki Dai, Romie Jean, Matthew Lynch, Chris Zhao, and Joseph Bonevento.

The City of Palm Coast is known for having an exceptional quality of life, but there is a need to evolve in response to its growing community. With a focus on preserving the environment, the city enlisted the support of these talented UF AIS students. This effort is part of Smart North Florida’s data coordination program wherein they reduce the data analyst talent gap in the public sector by pairing Master of Data Science teams with public sector and non-profit partners.

These students leveraged their skills to analyze data and create comprehensive maps outlining Annual Average Daily Traffic, Current and Future Land Use, Current and Projected Population Density, and Heat Islands. Their insightful analyses revealed several noteworthy conclusions:

  • While Average Annual Daily Traffic has shown a moderate increase over the past few years, the Planning Time Index shows decreases in travel time during peak hours, as indicated by the 2008-2021 traffic maps.
  • The introduction of the new Matanzas Woods Parkway to Palm Coast Parkway loop road will effectively lessen the impact of projected traffic increases, as highlighted by the traffic density maps.
  • Comparisons between the Current and Future Zoning maps showcase that the new developments on the western borders of Palm Coast are designed to protect and conserve green spaces.
  • As a result of these intentional development strategies, the heat island effect will be limited as Palm Coast expands westward.

The City’s Imagine 2050 comprehensive plan update includes a mixed-use residential and commercial expansion into the western border, featuring a new loop road from Matanzas Woods Parkway to Palm Coast Parkway. This development is strategically designed to alleviate traffic congestion, with mixed residential and commercial spaces and dedicated conservation and green space areas.

Palm Coast remains dedicated to safeguarding its green spaces, striking a delicate balance between urban growth and the inherent beauty of nature. Through thoughtful planning and preservation, the city is actively addressing heat island concerns, fostering a sustainable and robust environment for the well-being of current and upcoming generations.

This partnership project outlines the positive direction of Palm Coast’s growth. The strategic management of traffic and new projects is expected to create a well-rounded city with more diverse shopping and entertainment options while preserving Palm Coast’s natural beauty. The new Matanzas Woods Parkway to Palm Coast Parkway loop road is anticipated to lessen the impact of projected traffic increases, as indicated by the traffic density maps created by the UF AIS students.

As Palm Coast expands westward, the comparisons between the current and future zoning maps showcase the city’s commitment to protecting and conserving green spaces. This intentional development strategy is aimed at limiting the heat island effect, ensuring Palm Coast remains an idyllic paradise for residents and visitors alike.

The full report and accompanying maps the UF AIS students created can be viewed here: To learn more about the City of Palm Coast’s Imagine 2050 visioning plan, please visit There, residents can share their thoughts and visions on what they’d like to see for the future of Palm Coast.