According to the June 2014 US census, New York City—the largest, most populous city in the United States—is home to roughly 8.5 million people, and a record-breaking 56 million folks stopped in just to visit last year alone. The Big Apple is of course home to the world’s two largest stock exchanges, Broadway theater, world-renowned educational and medical centers, spectacular museums, sprawling parks, a dizzying array of restaurants to suit any palate, and the epicenter of fashion and shopping!
But sometimes when you live in the city and juggle a hectic work/social /family/life schedule, all you really want to do at the end of the day is go home…and stay there! The larger community surrounding your co-op or condo may just serve as a corridor you pass through as you come and go. If your building contains numerous amenities, or shopping, there is even less reason to venture beyond your own doorstep into nearby neighborhoods.
No Man is an Island
Four-hundred years ago, the English poet John Donne penned his famous verse; “No man is an island.” It appears Donne believed that individuals need to be part of humanity beyond their immediate surroundings. But why? What are the benefits to a person, a co-op, or a condominium building to be involved in the activities of the broader community?
And what exactly is the broader community anyway? You may well wonder, “Isn’t my individual building a community? There are other residents, activities, events, and various amenities. What’s missing?”
Like most things, community has a different meaning for different people. The larger community or municipality may be identified geographically as a physical infrastructure of streets, parks and buildings, defined by tangible brick and mortar structures, streets or roads. A sense of community is more often intangible, perhaps even emotional, and much more difficult to define; it can be what makes an address a home, and not just a location. If a sense of community truly has value—real and/or perceived—what is the best way to build a network of support and communication? What steps, if any, should a board take to foster this intangible benefit and help make the connection? Should a property manager play a role in building community awareness? And what can busy residents contribute toward improving the quality of life in the place they call home?