Creative lessons from a green greenfield village

Readers of this website know we don’t normally cover greenfield developments, that is, new communities built in the middle of wilderness or farm land. Some may see even eco-village versions of such communities on par with ads like this.

However, just as Starbucks helped spawn the next generation of local indie coffeehouse third places as we know and love today – and perhaps even coworking sites, sometimes there are valuable lessons in creativity, innovation and community to be learned from the unlikeliest of places.

For instance, take Serenbe, Georgia, pictured here and also in the previous entry. Yes, it’s built in the middle of nowhere and most everyone has to commute for miles, but notice how urban it is in the top photo (and check out those neat street lamps again), and how compact the development is in the second photo, vs. say, strip mall suburbia.

However, one of the coolest aspects of Serenbe is how its three neighborhoods focus on scenes, and not your typical rural themes like antiques or B&B tourism. Cities take note, there is much here that can be applied to an urban iteration.

Selborne: An arts scene – performing, visual and culinary, from those famous artist-crafted street lamps, to the same for its benches, trash cans and bike racks, and its contemporary architecture which rivals major metropolises.

Mado: A health and wellness scene. Mado means ‘things in balance’, and its signature venues will be a vegetarian restaurant, juice bar, destination spa and holistic medical services.

Grange: A sustainable farming scene, sited next to an organic farm and featuring more traditional rustic homes.

Serenbe also has an overall green theme, including every one its homes being EarthCraft green certified, Greater Atlanta’s version of eco-building standards.