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10 Ways to Create Innovative Communities

Innovative apartment communities

In the lively “Ahead of the Curve: Exceeding Expectations with Innovative Communities” session at the 2017 NAA Education Conference & Exposition in June in Atlanta, Kate Good, Senior Vice President of Development and Operations at Residential and Founding Member of Apartment All-Stars, and Sanford P. Steinberg, AIA, Principal Architect at Steinberg Design Collaborative, outlined ways to make a community stand out in a competitive marketplace.

  • Create Uber pickup areas. “Dedicate a waiting room for residents who are waiting for their driver and include marketing messages on a video screen mounted in that room,” Good says.
  • Apps like Sensi can help both apartment owners and users control temperature remotely. For instance, set the temperature to be a bit chilly on colder days and warmer on hotter days and then adjust it to a greater comfort level on a day when you are showing the apartment,” Good says.
  • Bikes can help offset parking. “A lot of cities will reduce parking requirements if you include bike racks and bike storage,” Steinberg says.
  • Outdoor areas with fireplaces and grills have become extremely popular today. “Build outdoor living rooms,” Good says. “It is always great to add some furniture and shade.”
  • A lot of communities include spinning rooms and yoga rooms. “Hiring an instructor is not necessary, because residents can watch instructional videos online via the television,” Steinberg says.
  • Steinberg and Good have seen many apartment owners get creative with outdoor lighting. By installing colored lights in pools, or even illuminating outdoor games like corn hole, the games can become more exciting and appealing.
  • Display-kitchens are popular in apartment communities. It’s easy to make these spaces flexible, Steinberg says. By using wheeled tables it is easy to empty those rooms for other purposes.
  • Today’s health conscious resident cares about what they eat. “Bring in vending machines with healthy food options,” Good says. “Those are the items that many people want.”
  • Music rooms with sound barriers are becoming more popular onsite. “Designed correctly, these rooms allow residents to pound on drums or blare their guitars because the neighbors will never hear,” Steinberg says.
  • It is important to provide communal spaces that encourage residents to gather. “One example is a beer garden — and you don’t have to supply the beer,” Good says. “You just simply supply the space.”

Weren’t able to join us in Atlanta or want to review your favorite session? The NAA Education Institute presents its REWIND program for the 2017 NAA Education Conference & Exposition. Purchase the collection of 50+ PowerPoint-synced audio sessions