When you were a child, you probably tuned into the PBS show Mister Rogers Neighborhood, where a homespun sweater-clad Fred Rogers often sang “Won’t you be my neighbor?”
Mr. Rogers might be singing a different tune today if he were a property manager of a big co-op or condo community, where it’s often a challenge getting residents to mix and mingle. Often, buyers or shareholders choose communities, not only because they like their units or the neighborhood, but because co-ops and condos offer a level of socialization and community that other neighborhoods with single family homes might not have.
Co-ops and condos operate as little communities or villages unto themselves—they have their board, their manager, their residents and their maintenance and door staff, and that seems to be all they need. They key question, though, is with everyone so busy and insulated, and with leisure activities often devoted to indoor activities in front of a TV screen or a computer, how do residents actually get out and meet and greet their next-door neighbors?
For many associations, the answer is simple: social events.
“We are finding that many of the associations we manage are interested in having these types of events,” says Marla Jackson, CMCA, vice president of property management for The Habitat Company in Chicago. “It's a good way for everybody to get together, socialize and get to know their neighbors better. It helps to build a community within a building,” she says.