Join the Green Builder Coalition's Mike Collignon as he interviews Steve Nygren, developer of Serenbe, a 1,000 acre sustainable community outside of Atlanta. Serenbe demonstrates that development for the growing population can be accommodated in the relationship with nature by embracing land conservation, energy efficiency, renewables, biophilic design, onsite food production, and other key sustainability concepts.
About Steve Nygren
Steve’s early career was in the hospitality industry and in 1972, he opened the Pleasant Peasant, which was the beginning of a restaurant corporation that grew to 34 restaurants in eight states by the time he departed in 1994. Steve and his wife, Marie, retired to a farm just outside Atlanta with their three daughters and six years later, he became concerned about urban sprawl invading their adopted country paradise.
In 2000, Steve led the effort to create the Chattahoochee Hills Country Alliance to bring together landowners, developers and conservationists to find a mutually-agreed upon solution for balanced growth. Through two years of work and public meetings, a land use plan was adopted to preserve 70% of the 40,000 acres on the edge of Atlanta while providing 20% more housing than the traditional suburban sprawl yield.
In 2004, the Nygrens began development of Serenbe to demonstrate these concepts which interlace agriculture activity with a range of housing choices mixed with shops, galleries, three restaurants and a 19 room Inn located in the historic farm compound. The result is reminiscent of century-old communities.
Daughter Garnie graduated from Cornell and serves as Director of Operations at Serenbe. Daughter Kara graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder and operates Serenbe Camp. Daughter Quinn graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder, is in the design business at ADAC in Atlanta and works at The Inn on weekends.
Steve has been active in many civic and charitable organizations.
•President - Rural Youth of America - 1969
•Chairman of the Midtown Alliance - 1982 and 1983
•Chairman of the Georgia Hospitality and Travel Association - 1982
•Chairman of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau -1990 and 1991
•Chairman of the Chattahoochee Hill Country Alliance - 2001-2005, a regional land use initiative covering 65,000 acres in a four-county region (Fulton, Coweta, Carroll and Douglas)
•Chairman of Chattahoochee Hill Country Conservancy - 2002-2005
•Georgia’s Governor’s Environmental Advisory Council - 2005-2007
•Georgia Department of Community Affairs Board representing the 13th congressional district - 2007 – present
•Chair, DCA Planning Advisory Task Force to address planning in Georgia, 2011 - 2013
•Emory University Board of Visitors 2012 – 2013
•Ray Anderson Foundation Advisory Board 2013
•Chairman of Chattahoochee NOW 2012 – 2013, coordination of conservation, recreation and development of 106 square miles along the Chattahoochee
For more information on Serenbe, you may visit www.serenbe.com.