The word community, like many words in the English language, has more than one interpretation. A community can be identified as a geographical location—a physical infrastructure of streets, parks and buildings, defined by tangible brick and mortar structures. But a sense of community is often emotional, intangible, and much more difficult to define; it is what makes an address a home rather than just a location—and in the context of a condo association, cultivating that sense can be of inestimable value to both residents and boards.
“There are numerous benefits of community building,” says James Gelske, a property manager with 1st Place Property Management, LLC in Coral Springs. “You have more people on the same page. More eyes looking out for fellow residents and residents will feel safer.”
Joanne M. Willoughby, PCAM, CMCA, AMS, president & CEO of Associa/Association Services of Florida agrees. “Building community builds trusts with the board and builds unity,” she says. “It allows the community to live in harmony.”
Cultivating a sense of community can present a challenge for residents, property managers, and association boards alike. In resort-like environments in South Florida, it is still possible to feel a disconnect from one's neighbors, even living in the same building and sharing the same amenities.
Lives are busy and schedules hectic and schedules hectic, and the last thing many people want to do when they’re at home is go socialize with the folks next door. But making the effort to build a sense of community is valuable, and creates a network of communication and support among building residents.