Creating a new city to enable better development and land use
Most people thought Steve Nygren, the founder and developer of Serenbe, was crazy when he talked about the things he wanted to do in terms of developing housing and infrastructure on the land he owned. Because Steve was not a professional developer—he didn’t know that most of the things he wanted to do were not conventionally done, accepted, or were illegal. But he knew in his heart that the land needed to be developed as a living system, with the trees and natural elements taking priority and informing the design and causing least harm to the ecosystem.
What I find very fascinating about Serenbe’s development is that it ran into so many issues with not fitting into the development rules of the County and they were afraid of urban sprawl damaging the character of the area, that it assisted the area residents to incorporate the area as its own city to make its own rules. The basic goal was to keep the area’s rural character with developments needing to be done in “village” like design rather than the conventional ugly suburban sprawl.
By late 2002, they passed the largest land use plan in recent history in metropolitan Atlanta, with 80 percent of the landowners paying dues into the organization they formed. Serenbe’s land plan calls for the preservation of at least 70% of its acreage while accommodating as many, or more people as traditional subdivision-style developments, which typically disturb nearly 80%. Thirty acres are devoted to farming. (biohabitats.com)