The Power of Community

Being married to an American, Thanksgiving has become a bit of an adopted holiday for me. It’s a unique time to take a step back, reflect and be thankful for the good things in life.

That may be a little harder than usual this year of course. It has, after all, been a year of unprecedented difficulty for many, and most of us will be thankful to see the back of it. And yet, in and amongst the challenges, there are still a number of things I’ll be thankful for when getting stuck into the Thanksgiving turkey next week.

One of the things many people have been particularly grateful for, is the power of local community during this crisis. With lockdowns and tier systems keeping us from our usual social circles, many people have taken the opportunity to get to know their local community better. Neighbours have steppedin to provide a vital social outlet and source of support, even helping with shopping and childcare for those needing to self-isolate. For many people, it’s taken 2020 to remember just how valuable and enjoyable being part of a local community can be.

Even before 2020 however, local community has been increasingly sought after, as rates of loneliness and isolation have risen, particularly amongst younger generations. Being part of a thriving community or neighbourhood has shot up the list of ‘must haves’ for renters. Indeed, at larger residential schemes, tenants now expect to have access to a thriving community engagement programme, as part of the overall offer. For many tenants, being part of a vibrant community has become as important as the actual physical space they rent itself. For landlords, the opportunity is clear: create a strong sense of community within your building, and your building will command much greater appeal.

But how exactly do you create community?

Gone are the days of picking up a handful of leaflets from local libraries, clubs, and public amenities and pinning them on a notice board in the lobby. Instead, savvy landlords are now deploying feature-rich, building branded apps like our own. This technology allows owners to advertise and invite tenants to community events, provide instant in-building messaging and chat features, and offer on-demand access to services and amenities, all through one branded app. Apps like this not only create a powerful building identity and brand, but they also cultivate the sense of belonging and community that today’s tenants truly crave. 

As we reflect on 2020, many of us are particularly grateful for the part that local community has played in providing us with support and social contact. Owners must recognise, however, that this year is no flash in the pan. Instead, 2020 has only cemented a growing demand within the occupier market for buildings that offer connection, community and belonging. If residential owners are going to meet tenant expectations, it’s vital that they prioritise this at the very heart of their offer, both this year and beyond.