Apartment living is a fact of life for many Australians, and with 15 per cent of all Australians now living in apartments the strata world is evolving.
Migrants, downsizers, first home buyers, families, singles and professionals now all call strata home.
Apartment living has become the preferred option for many, and as Australia’s population swells beyond the 25 million mark, developers have an important and exciting role to play in designing and creating housing solutions for this generation.
This new generation are choosing to purchase strata properties either to live or invest in, as opposed to traditional free-standing homes.
A successful community requires meaningful planning with architects and city planners.
Often the only commonality of those living in strata is that they live in strata.
The challenge is designing spaces that meet the demands of residents and creating communities that foster integration and interaction among a diverse group of people.
Residents are looking to fulfil the lifestyle dream: homes with resort-style amenities; coffee shops, swimming pools, cinemas, large common-use areas that form an extension of the actual apartment, gymnasiums, parks and gardens — all within walking distance to work, schools and transport.
To help the developers, architects and planners bring their vision to life and deliver real dreams to future property owners, a licensed strata manager is a must.
Collaboration with an experienced strata manager who understands the vision of the developer can prove invaluable, particularly at the early stages of architectural design of the development.
A strata manager saves both time and money for the developer, as well as the owners corporation down the track.
Smarter Communities Queensland senior strata development consultant Michael Lovell recalls a client build from previous years where the architect was keen to use a particular external finish on a new development.
“It was a new product that looked great but was going to be high maintenance down the track, meaning higher fees for the owners corporation than they needed.” Lovell says.
“It was a key factor that had not been taken into consideration by the design team.
“Our strata development team had a mutually respectful relationship with the developer and architect.
“After advising them that an alternative would be a better option and explaining why, he was able to save that owners corporation considerably when an alternate product was used with lower maintenance requirements.”
Learning to live together harmoniously in a successful community sounds reasonable enough yet, in reality, it is not as easy as it sounds.
A recent report by the Grattan Institute indicates why living in high-density housing is not conducive to feeling part of an effective community.
The Demographics Group director of research, Simon Kuestenmache says that while some kinds of urban design may “build in” isolation and neighbours may remain strangers, while other designs actually encourage social interaction.
“If you build an apartment that has no common areas, the common area then becomes the rubbish area and basement and, of course, no one wants to hang around there,” Kuestenmache says.
“But a rooftop, a shared garden and communal living spaces offer a common sense of purpose.
“When you constantly increase small interactions then eventually they lead to larger, more meaningful interactions.”
In a rapidly urbanising Australia, fostering social interaction and a harmonious community within your building has never played such an important role.
As Australia’s second largest strata community management company, Smarter Communities has more than 40 years’ experience working with developers and managing diverse Owners Corporations, large and small, along the Australian east coast and South Australia.
“Collaborating with developers to help design, create and build smarter communities doesn’t happen overnight, it can actually take years, but it won’t happen at all if you don’t team up and try,” Lovell says.
“We’re proud of the 90,000 lots we have on our books, meaning a growing number of owner occupiers and investors entrust us to manage their prized investment, their home, and that’s priceless.”
For more information about Smarter Communities, visit developer.smartercommunities.com.au or call 1800 519 642 for a free consultation.
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