Rural Development Attempts Alternative to Suburban Sprawl

In rural Georgia, a New Urbanist style development is slowly materializing, andhoping to be a sustainable antidote to urban sprawl.

Located about an hour outside of Atlanta, the project is being built in a wooded rural area, and its developers expect it to eventuallyhouse 2,500 people.

"Called Serenbe-"a serene place to be"-the New Urbanism-style development is a model for sustainable living, its creators believe. Designed to be an antidote for suburban sprawl, Serenbe weaves together high-density residences with walkability, sustainability, and a self-sufficient mix of agriculture and local businesses. The community has already grown to include 260 residents, a bakery, three high-end restaurants, a weekly farmer's market, several shops and galleries, and a 19-room inn. "We are tremendously proud of what we've built," says Steve Nygren, who founded the development with his wife, Marie.

The Serenbe master plan, designed by architect Phillip Tabb, director of the architecture department at Texas A&M University, envisions 2,500 residents scattered through four interconnected villages. Currently, the village of Shelborne is 80 percent finished, while a second, Grange, is 20 percent complete."

Full Story: Serenbe Community in Georgia Offers Alternative to Suburban Sprawl



Must be serene to be...

Must be serene to be buying a $250,000-$1,000,000 home in a hamlet amidst the green right now. We agree with an early commenter on the Architectural Record page that experiments in acceptable blends between post-war suburbia and new urbanism are needed.

Certainly the cluster housing effect is superior to typical large-lot subdivisions where this price of suburban home might be built around Atlanta. The hamlets have a far lower impact on water quality and wildlife.

Having said that, the negative is that to the extent people buying this type of housing are commuters in the workforce, any ecological benefits are quickly cancelled out by the car trip into Atlanta. Let's hope most of these home buyers are work-at-home types and early retirees. However, probably Serenbe will turn to be just another variation on sprawl. If we had some $90,000 cottages in there, we would be more impressed.

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