Town Haul Podcast | Episode 25

  • Host: Amy Koonin (Rubicon)
  • Guest: Steve Nygren, Founder of Serenbe
  • Listen here!

On this episode of the Town Haul, Amy Koonin chats with Steve Nygren, founder of Serenbe. Serenbe is a sustainable wellness community located outside of Atlanta. The homes are built sustainably. There is a 25-acre on-site organic farm and edible landscaping all over. Amy, a proud resident of Serenbe, talks with Steve on Serenbe’s mission and where he sees it going in the next few years.

On how he’d describe Serenbe to a stranger:

NYGREN: “Serenbe is a community, very much like communities were built 80 to 100 years ago where everything is clustered together. The houses are close, the porches are pulled close to the sidewalk and neighbors know neighbors.”

On what sparked his passion for environmental sustainability:

NYGREN: “My wife, number one. In the early 1970s, we were raising our children with organic baby food and cloth diapers. It was a responsible thing. And we did not think that it was leading a path, it just made sense to us.

As I look back, I grew up in a generational, rural, Swedish community in Colorado. We’ve been there, various branches of the family, since the 1860s. And it was just the way you used to live. It wasn’t thinking that we were picking up environmental slack. It just made sense.”

On how each neighborhood in Serenbe is unique:

NYGREN: “Each neighborhood, or hamlet, as they’re called here, is designed with a specific orientation in mind. Now, if you come to Selborne, which is what the first community is called and the history of that through our relationship with a dear friend in England, it has a focus on art.

If you look at the street lights, the trash cans, the benches, they’re all art. We commissioned artists to design them and employ craftsmen to make them, so we’re walking the talk in that we feel our support in every level. You’ll see there are murals on buildings, there are pieces of sculpture down various avenues, and every street line is really a piece of art.

Meanwhile, the Grange neighborhood has a focus on agriculture. We pulled the farms right up to the edge of the houses, or the houses right to the edge of the farm. You can watch the farmers, you wave to them, you get to know the farmers, the kids know the farmers. They see the seasonality.”

On where he sees Serenbe in five years:

NYGREN: “I believe we’re on a path of steady growth. More people see that a lot of the things that looked like crazy 18 years ago are now coming on board, whether it’s research, whether it’s the lifestyle, whether it’s health and wellness, or conserving the energy.

I don’t care where your beliefs are about the environment. The constant interests people always have are the health of your family and the cash flow that you have in your bank. So I believe that communities like Serenbe are going to become more mainstream as people understand that. Serenbe’s going to continue to grow at a higher velocity like we’re showing now, and we’re going to continue to be model influencing other places.”