Engagement the key to authentic communities

Sunday , 13 / August / 2017    

Property developers are increasingly using engagement as a strategy to create ‘authentic’ communities in new residential developments.

No longer is it just about delivering the built form, property developers now have a responsibility to create a community experience in developments.

AVID Property Group General Manager Queensland Bruce Harper said AVID is increasingly looking for ways to actively contribute, long term, to the communities they build.

“It can be challenging for a genuine sense of community to develop in new masterplanned developments, which is why engagement is so important right from the early stages of the project,” Mr Harper said.

“Creating a sense of place in new developments is essential for residents to feel connected to the area and actively participate in the community.

“AVID strives to leave a legacy in all of our developments and create a cohesive, thriving communities.

“Engaging the community in the early stages of the project also allows us to identify and respond to future residents’ needs, rather than react to them after they move in.”

Sunshine Coast local, Susana Waldron, recently joined AVID Property Group as the Community Development Officer for the new $3 billion Sunshine Coast development, Harmony.

“Community engagement will be critical to the success of the 5,000 lot development,” Ms Waldron said.

“People are having significantly less face-to-face contact with their neighbours than in times gone by, which means we are having to think of innovative ways to create opportunities for people to come together.

“At Harmony, we are trying to create a sense of community even before the first residents arrive so that from the moment they enter the development, they feel connected.

“We are looking forward to hosting a range of events that will kick off later this year that will assist residents to meet their neighbours and form genuine relationships.

“This may include long table dinners, women in business networking events, food truck markets, outdoor fitness classes and children’s activities.”

Common spaces, such as Harmony’s five hectare linear park, help to increase social interaction and support the natural growth of the community.

“A linear park spanning the length of 10 football fields will form a connecting ‘green spine’ through the development,” Ms Waldron said.

“These open community spaces will help to enhance connectivity, while satisfying the diverse social and recreational needs of residents and the wider community on the Sunshine Coast.”

The Sunshine Coast is an area Ms Waldron knows well, having lived at Palmview for 12 years. She began her career in finance and training before moving into the arts where she worked closely with local artists on the Sunshine Coast.

“Public art also plays a key role in enhancing the look and feel of the community and creating a sense of place,” Ms Waldron said.

“Incorporating public art into community spaces will be an important focus for Harmony in shaping the development’s identity.”