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Alex Hillman Podcasts Episode 40: Design for Community

Alex Hillman answered a question pertaining to the importance of design for community.

How important is the design of a space?

Alex recalled a time he went to Liberty Village, a collection of condo buildings lining the streets of a neighborhood in Canada.  The separation of the buildings is the opposite of what he thinks of when he thinks community building. The design of the condos actively divides them.  Unless you are a resident of the building, you cannot enter the building without the permission of another resident. The condos were heavily guarded with access control.  There was nothing inviting or interactive about them at all.

Alex managed to get a tour of the condos from the founder of the Liberty Village Residents Association, Todd.  Todd is not a founder of any of the buildings, he was a resident himself. When Todd bought a condo, he and realized he was missing that community connection.  So, he took it upon himself to start organizing amongst neighborhood to lessen the divide between buildings in spite of the infrastructure. He did this by using tools like Facebook groups to help one another and increase interactions amongst residents.  People came together to support one another.

Todd organized his neighbors by connecting them with each other.  The Liberty Village Residents Association has become a stand alone nonprofit after how successful it was in creating community.  They now collect dues, not from members but from the buildings. The buildings offer membership to the Liberty Village Residents Association as a benefit of living there.  The dues allow the nonprofit to bring the neighbors together. They organize social events and business events. The goal is to make people aware of what is going on and get people involved in the community.

There are even people in other areas of Toronto that are members of the online community and active members of the Liberty Village Residents Association.


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