Teaching a New Building Old Tricks
Wheels have been set in motion here in the Madrigal Lofts. Exciting wheels, that shall carry us into the future. But, dear friends, we know not toward which future these wheels may be propelled–and the steady hand of experience is needed to turn our pinion.
Enough of the high-falutin language. The residents of the Madrigal Lofts have just started a mailing list for the building. This is our first step towards becoming a community. And this raises the question: what next? What do we communities do? Much of this is defined by the condo’s documents: when and how a board will form, what it will do, and how. But that’s not what I’m interested in here. Rather, I’m interested in the organic part: what we do to as a community, not what we do to run the building.
For instance, I’ve seen some condos organize “time pools,” where participants promise a few hours of their time to help others in the building. When you need help moving furniture, or watering your plants while you’re out of town, you can ask someone who’s promised their time to help, and “repay” them by promising that much of your time back into the exchange. It seems complicated, but where it’s worked I’ve heard that people really like it. There are of course other, simpler ideas: social events, either recurring, for special events, or a one-time get together to meet everyone; efforts to welcome new residents; sharing information about events outside of the building; or organizing a building newsletter.
Some of these seem like good ideas, some like bad. And I’m certain that there are many other things that we could do. So I ask, what have other buildings done, what’s worked well, and what is to be avoided?
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