High-rise buildings, for all their density, are sure good at stifling community and culture.
It feels like each unit is designed to be as isolated and anonymous as possible. Like a suburban neighbourhood in a tower form.
But, it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve lived in apartments all my life and here are five ways to increase the sense of community of a high-rise building.
Customizable front door and mat
Like a profile page with a name, background pic and avatar, someone’s front door can say a lot about its residents. Allow for door customizations, door decorations, mats, and name plates. Give the option to install a door bell. A front door experience gives a lot of personality to a space, and can make the hallways rich with life.
A random service directory
Maintain a directory where people can list services and specialities that they offer. A phone repair shop, a hobby cake baker, or an eager babysitter could all be living in your high-rise building . Also, you can create a directory for borrowing power tools, books, and other speciality equipment that is rarely used.
An online chat group like Facebook
As much as I am reluctant to admit this, Facebook groups for a building are a great way to stay connected to current ongoings of a high-rise community. Whether you are giving stuff away, need a cup of sugar, or wondering about when the new ice cream place down the street is finally opening, it is quite cool to be part of an active online group that’s only made up of residents.
A large communal living room
Similar to an airport lounge or hotel lobby, make a place where people can go to get a break from their own abodes and sit in an immensely comfortable and spacious environment to relax. Connect it with the lobby, to activate a thoroughfare. And now with WFH, these kinds of spaces make high-rise living worth it.
Community leadership programs
While the previous tips may not require too many resources, it does require leadership. With training and a dedicated mandate for activating high-rise communities, a leader can be great for facilitating the needs of the unique community. Every place is different, and that’s the challenge and the beauty of it.
Building events and competitions
A giant lunch potluck, a drawing contest for the kids, mural painting in the fire exits, unit garage sales and clothes swaps, workshops… The sky is the limit here.
There is a lot of potential wrapped up in high-rise communities. I hope that as we live in more of them, we learn to get better at designing them and facilitating within them an ability to develop a strong sense of community and belonging.