Psaros / News

Creating Communities in Inner-City Apartment Living

According to recent property analysis, Perth is experiencing a noticeable shift toward urban lifestyles – in fact, people are flocking to the city in droves.

This highly sustainable style of apartment living is more popular than ever, with easy access to the city and the river, entertainment and cultural centres, and cheaper and greener transport options.

Why micro communities?

Combatting the social disconnect that city living can bring, today many urban dwellers – particularly first time home buyers - have a strong and genuine desire to belong to the communities in which they live, work and play. These community values are driving people to actively create new social networks, or in other words - micro communities.

In online terms, micro communities are defined as niche social networks focused on a specific interest. In a physical sense micro communities are no different – they represent the coming together of like-minded people around shared interests, hobbies and passions.

What works?

In urban environments, micro communities can help people feel a great sense of connectivity and belonging. In contained environments like apartment complexes, they can create a great community atmosphere and familiarity amongst neighbors.

The prevalence of community gardens in Perth is a great example of vibrant and effective micro communities. These groups are often successful as they form on the basis of common interests (a shared love of gardening and/or sustainability). Social in nature, they offer structure and purpose, ensuring people know what to expect from joining and participating.

Micro communities can range from joining local sporting teams, to forming book clubs, knitting nights or even multicultural culinary gatherings. Groups often form around charities and volunteering, where people regularly meet in aid of spreading a message, raising funds or petitioning for change.

Other popular interests bringing Perth people together include a love of food, film, art and fitness. Local business groups may join forces to exchange ideas, trade services and pool talent. Other less formal groups – like pub quiz teams - are merely for socialising (no matter how hard you try to pass this off as educational!). As you can see, the possibilities are endless, so whatever you’re into, there’s probably a micro community for you.

Rules for keeping order

It doesn’t require much imagination to picture what can happen when micro communities go wrong - particularly when they are formed around people living in close proximity to each other. (Anyone who recently watched Bad Neighbours can attest to this). To avoid this type of situation, here are some basic “rules” for successfully participating in micro communities:

Create structure and set clear parameters

Although you don’t want micro communities to seem rigid, some structure can actually help activities run smoothly. It also lets participants know what is expected of them. For example, guidelines can determine how often and where you will meet, who will make decisions about the activities and direction of the community, and who will fill leadership and administrative roles.

Have clear purpose

Clearly defining and communicating the purpose of your micro community will help people know whether the group is suited to their interests and lifestyle. It’s also worth giving some thought to the type of people and the values most suited to the group (remembering micro communities are all about inclusivity).

Start small and keep it casual

Just like any new relationship, take it slowly and try to let things take their natural course. Where possible make it easy for people to come and go without compromising or disrupting the flow or collective aims of the group.

Conversation starters

Before you look to start a micro community, do your research to see if any groups already exist locally that you may want to join. If setting up your own community group is the right choice for you, consider advertising in local community forums (on noticeboards in your apartment building or in local shopping centers, council newsletters, etc.) to promote the social opportunities on offer.

If you're ready to become part of a new micro-community, why not give Psaros a call and find out more about their current developments?