Chuck and Steve Nygren talk about the plan for Serenbe Community and why he wanted to develop the land to preserve open space. (Video by Hibbotte)


Steve: So here at Serenbe, it is a 30/70. 70 percent’s preserve. The development is on the 30 percent. It’s the same kind of houses that would normally be spread out over the entire area.

Chuck: That allows you to have access to nature, basically, so I think you have a lot of trails here and you offer things like horseback riding and such.

Steve: We have foot trails. And all of your foot trails will get you everywhere about half the distance that the car routes will get to.

Chuck: Uh-huh.

Steve: The entire community was laid out with the pedestrian in mind.

Chuck: And it’s just so refreshing to come here and see this model. Don't you think that this model can stand for others across the country?

Steve: We are… we’re delighted. We… this was a reaction to what was happening in our own backyard. And the amazing thing is, we now get people coming from all over to see what we’ve done because urban sprawl is something affecting every major city; and even small towns are developing with the sprawl. As we changed the zoning for this entire area, it’s all based on living in high dense small communities…

Chuck: Right.

Steve: …and preserving the land around.

Chuck: Yep.

Steve: Now a lot of people thought this was unusual, how could this be? In reality, we’re just remembering the way they developed 70-80 years ago or longer. And so, we wanted to demonstrate, and so we took our own land to demonstrate, that the market was there…

Chuck: Mm-hmm.

Steve: …and it could be charming to have people living in town houses and apartments above the store, small cottages with porches up near the street. That tight density allows you then to preserve the balance of the land…

Chuck: Right.

Steve: …as agriculture or forest or horse pastures or organic farms.


In the Green Room: New community preserves green space
Learn how a community was built with pedestrians in mind.