There’s something special that comes from feeling like you belong somewhere. That sense of pride you experience towards your home when you really feel like it’s your home is almost tangible, and that passion of ownership and respect for where you live becomes a badge that you display proudly on your sleeve for all to see when you identify with where you live and lay your head down to sleep at night.
This sort of pride-of-ownership is something that condo boards and management companies have been striving for decades to instill in residents, because it translates into loving respect for the property and a desire to see it improve and be the best that it can be. When owners and tenants share an identity with the place that they live, they take better care of it. Maintenance is less expensive. Security becomes less of a concern because residents are looking out for one another. Community morale improves as a result of all this, causing the building to become a more desirable place to live, meaning less vacancies and more financial stability for the condo corporation as a whole.
You might be thinking “Sure, that all sounds great, but how do we make that happen in our building?” One word: placemaking.
Placemaking is an approach to planning and designing public spaces that’s been around since the 1960’s and is now seeing a recent resurgence not only in urban planning, but in condo community-building, as well. The driving principles behind placemaking involve designating a public space within a district or locality towards a unique vision or goal. The existence of these spaces then works to promote group-minded gatherings around this specific concept, driving investment in not just the space, but the community as a whole.
Why Should Our Condo Community Invest in Placemaking?
There are many reasons to explore placemaking in your condo community. In addition to the list that we touched on in the opening of this blog article, placemaking can also be extremely instrumental in a number of other areas and developmental facets, including:
- Creating a sense of identity for the building. If your condo community dedicates itself to planning out a great space with a specific, successful vision, word will spread fast amongst interested members of the community. Not only will individuals in your building come to know and appreciate the condo for the unique space it’s home to, but soon enough, so will interested parties outside the condo community as well – especially if your building shares out some information about the unique, tailor-made space on social media!
- The potential to increase property value. If the place you create within your condo’s common spaces is a hit, you’ll be able to offer residents something unique that other buildings won’t have on their amenities list – and that means your property values will surely climb a notch or two as a result.
- The development of community. This is a detail we’ve mentioned a few times already throughout this blog, but it bears repeating. Placemaking empowers your condo building to forge a community not just between individual units, but within the building at large, and encourages people to get out there, be involved, and get to know their neighbours – all positives that any condo corporation will easily be able to see the value in.
There are plenty more reasons to consider investing in placemaking within your own condo community, but these should be more than enough to get your board and building to consider the notion and move forward from there. Now that you’re ready to go, though, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the tools you need to be successful.
How to Find Success in Placemaking
In order to build a successful space, you’ll want to take the following into consideration:
- First, develop a specific vision.Placemaking requires that you not just create a space for people to gather, but that you give them a reason to gather there. Don’t start by telling the community what they want, but by asking them what they’d like to see. Does your condo community crave an art space? Somewhere green and peaceful for walks and reflection? A place for the little ones to play? Locking down this initial direction will be key to your new space’s success.
- Make it unique.If you’re set on putting together a space for art and expression, you’ll have to do better than just purchasing a small statue or two at the hardware store. Likewise, don’t just drop a swing set in the middle of a common space and expect the community to rally behind it. When placemaking, it’s important to create a space that’s not just for the community, but one that’s worthy of conversation. Get creative. Have fun. And don’t be afraid to take risks!
- Get the community behind the project.If your board took the time to consult the condo community about the sort of space they’d like to see developed, you’re already ahead of the game. Placemaking requires that the community rally behind the unique common space that you’re creating – both in terms of actually getting out there and enjoying it, and in the early planning and building stages as well. Placemaking can sometimes require a fair financial investment on the part of your condo community – but if you’ve already got everyone supporting the idea, this shouldn’t present any sort of a problem!
- Above all, have patience, and be prepared to roll with the punches. Creating a unique, stand-out public space for your condo community to truly be proud of doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient, keep cool, and above all, be flexible. If you start down one path and realize that people aren’t quite as excited about things as you thought they might be, take the time to reconnect with everyone to find out where the wheels fell off the wagon, and what needs to change to get everybody back onboard.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to successful placemaking, but as difficult as the journey is, the rewards of seeing your condo community come together in happiness and solidarity are well-worth the struggle.Looking for help with your condo community’s own placemaking project? Give us a ring at Catalyst Condo Management today – we excel at bringing condo communities together and will be happy to help make sure your placemaking project is a smashing success!