Building SustainABLE Communities
FROM THE CEO
The demand for value-led, people-oriented, and sustainable development is arguably the most significant shift across property, architecture and design. The world around our homes is changing rapidly. The role of the cities and our place within them are being rethought. More than ever, we are becoming more aware of the significance of creating a healthy and nurturing environment for us to withdraw and recuperate.
Cities are the focal points and drivers of societal development in all countries. They are responsible for many significant environmental challenges, considering they are the largest consumers of natural resources and, among the largest sources of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions on the planet. Thus, there is a need for a notable shift in designing our cities to overcome all of these problems. Starting with the communities, we design and the connections we build.
It is no coincidence that as our cities get ever bigger, people long for more meaningful connections with those around them. People want more thana place to live – they want to belong. Much-lauded projects such as The Commons (Brunswick and now Hobart) and Nightingale align affordability and sustainability, and in doing so naturally, attract a community of like-minded people.
A sustainable community is far more than an eco-friendly one. It is one where everyone can thrive and flourish – they are vibrant, inclusive and support our individual and collective sense of wellbeing. It is about people, places and the relationships between them. Since our inception, the question of how best to design a sustainable community is one that we have continuously explored to ensure a sustainable lifestyle for all.
ALIYU ALIYU, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
WITH EMPHASIS ON OUR PERSPECTIVE
Technology has seeped into virtually every aspect of the human experience, and the sharing economy is just one manifestation of its impact. Tech startups like Uber and Airbnb represent the vanguard, reshaping the way we spend our vacation or simply travel across town.
In recent years, the concept of utilising shared resources has gained traction in the housing market. Targeting cities where demand for rental properties have prompted a spike in prices, communal living has emerged as a cost-effective alternative. The rise of communal living is an attempt to fill a gap in the residential marketplace. However, the issue for real estate developers is whether it is a trend that is both sustainable and powerful enough to transcend beyond a small market niche.
The word ‘community’ resonates throughout our lives. Community embraces a quality of life that seems universally valued. Whilst many of us may disagree on its definition, we all have a sense of when it is absent or present. In recent decades there has been a growing sense that much of the development – emerging urban sprawl – on the fringes of Australian cities does not adequately support or encourage the development of community.
This mounting concern for community, combined with the rise of sustainability – environmental, economic and social – as a core component in urban development, has led to the emergence of an increasing number of master-planned communities that seek to offer residents’ sustainable’ communities, ‘vibrant’ communities, ‘liveable’ communities and so on. Whilst some of these offers are little more than enticing marketing campaigns, others are based on genuine attempts to encourage the growth and emergence of ‘sustainable’ communities.
Bilaad Realty’s approach to sustainability
In their attempts to create ‘sustainable’ communities, developers have focused their attention on how appropriate housing, public spaces and community facilities within the physical design can provide a basic platform that gives residents the best opportunities to build community. They have also broadened their focus beyond the physical environment to develop networks, relationships, capacities and possibilities for social interaction.
Social wellbeing arises from a sense of security, belonging, familiarity, support, neighbourliness, cohesion and integration of different social groups, based on respect for different cultures, traditions and backgrounds. The measures of sustainable communities are not exhaustive or mutually exclusive. Rather they are mutually reinforcing and overlapping. We have divided them into four to simplify the process of measuring how sustainable a community is.
– A sustainable community involves minimal ecological impact, minimal waste or pollution and maximum recycling, protection and enhancement of the natural environment, so that all may enjoy environmental benefits such as greenery, careful planning for physical and social well-being, space to walk, cycle, refresh and relax.
– Community organisation and neighbourhood management are essential to social networks and urban viability, ensuring well maintained and secured conditions which are the prerequisite of stable, long-term, participative and cohesive communities; e.g. neighbourhood management organisations can transform basic street conditions, community safety and security, social contact and youth engagement, by acting as a local conduit for decisions, coordinating supervision and frontline service delivery.
– As a priority, sustainable communities utilise cutting edge technology in the provision of home-specific and communal security systems. In many cases, remote closed-circuit television surveillance (CCTV) systems are developed to cater to the safety of people who live within.
– Minimizing energy use and environmental impact contributes to sustainability, helps combat global warming and encourages long-term stewardship of communities. An essential part of sustainable communities is the utilization of energy-efficient appliances supported by renewable, clean energy (solar or wind); offering residents long term cost saving.
At Bilaad Realty, we are conversant with the fact that today’s world is fast-paced, full of people who increasingly seek authentic experiences from places where they live, work and interact. Looking forward, today’s housing environments are not only about the residential surroundings but about delivering functionality and shaping lives.