The Urban Village program is based on the simple idea that we as human beings operate stronger as a collective community than as individuals. The program is a vision for the greatness that community and living spaces can achieve.
The goal of the Urban Village program is to transform ordinary apartment spaces into thriving communities. Places where residents learn to thrive by supporting each other.
To implement Urban Village (UV) we take these three simple steps:
Create Space. We start by designating a physical space (an empty room large enough for a small circle of people) to the UV program. From there we add small design elements to make the space inviting and welcoming.
Train Facilitators. Program Directors and Community Ambassadors who currently reside in the apartment community then begin to facilitate initial gatherings and encourage group meetings. The “seed” of the program is planted.
Nourish Growth. Then we step back and allow the program to grow organically, providing community support as needed. What we’ve seen next varies broadly from: community gardens, composting and dog parks; to resident-led classes (yoga, cooking, foreign languages, arts/crafts, computers, and dance); to social events (pool parties, BBQs, movie & game nights, birthdays, and weddings); to skill-sharing and volunteer opportunities (book and tool lending libraries, CERT Trainings, parents groups, writers groups, scouting and book clubs.) The possibilities are endless.
An additional part of the Urban Village program is incorporating sustainable practices into the daily lives of our residents, and ultimately the community as a whole:
Resident education on green technologies, toxic materials, and reducing carbon footprints
On–site analysis of energy and water efficiency, with replacement programs for outdated equipment
Recycling and re–use programs
Installation of non–toxic building materials and supplies
Central drop–off locations for safe disposal of batteries, paint, and used CFL bulbs
Community gardens and composting, where appropriate
Solar and wind installations, where applicable
These steps are implemented and supported by a broad–based and participatory approach towards building community, including key positions that contribute to social connectivity and leadership development. Some of these on-site positions include: Urban Village Program Director, Community Ambassador/Resident Facilitators and a Resident’s Council.
When true community is achieved, the positive outcomes for our residents translate into broad impact for the cities and regions where the communities are located. These include an increased tax base, decreases in the need for social services or police services, higher commercial viability for the local economy, increased resiliency against economic downturns, enhanced neighborhood vitality and social cohesion, and an improved desirability–index with respect to the best places to live.
This broad impact on society provides a socially responsible investment opportunity within the multifamily investing world. It’s an alternative investment opportunity with a conscience.