Indeed ‘community building’ is one of those slogans you hear chanted by the left; people who want to save forests and shut down brown-coal fired power stations.
But community building is now starting to gain the interest of property developers, a group not generally associated with left-leaning do-gooders! It’s good for developers to use the language, but are they really delivering housing that promotes genuine community building?
Large scale residential towers along Australia’s eastern coast are enjoying a boom, as one in four Aussies now live in so-called clustered housing. Planners and sociologists are investigating the social and human benefits, or otherwise, of this trend of vertical communities.
Australian researchers say that connection with neighbours and random acts of kindness can be good for your health.
A three-year study (1999) by Professors Robert Bush from the University of Queensland and Fran Baume from Flinders University found that people’s physical and mental health is significantly better in those who have links with their neighbours than those without.
Even people who are ill tend to get better if they have greater links with their neighbours, the researchers said.
The median age of people living in the City of Melbourne is 28, with developers doing little to help create demographic diversity; 96% of more than 20,000 apartments planned for inner-city Melbourne having two or fewer bedrooms.
Retirees and families have differing requirements to urban singles, which is not reflected in the current, or planned-for, residential stock.
As finding a life partner is now in the hands of online dating services, so too is community building. In an Australian first, a website for buildings and the people who live in them, is now available.
The website and portal also offers templates for Agendas, Meetings and Minutes, as well as an Archive for Strata/Owners’ Corporation rules and other documents. “It’s a Facebook page for buildings on steroids”, said software owner, Kate Gould.
With more vertical cities on the drawing boards, and developers not yet walking the talk, residents can now take control of their community by getting their own building’s website for their vertical communities.