myFrasersProperty 13 38 38
myFrasersProperty 13 38 38

Laneway parties, Facebook groups and book clubs: 10 ways to build the modern community

Want to enjoy a sense of belonging where you live? Start by getting to know your neighbourhood.

16 April 2024

Technology is a great tool for discovering social opportunities in your area, but sometimes finding ways to connect is as simple as discovering what’s happening around you.

“Humans are social beings and we belong together,” says Michelle Mrzyglocki, Community Development Manager WA for Frasers Property Australia.

“We’re designed to be in communities and neighbourhoods because they bring safety and nurturing so we can thrive.”

Many of today’s masterplanned communities are carefully designed with this in mind, creating genuine opportunities for neighbours to bond.

One such example is Ed.Square by Frasers Property Australia, a residential development in Sydney’s southwest, which features a wheelchair-friendly Community Centre that hosts a range of social events – from children’s playgroups to boardgame nights.

Ed.Square’s Community Development Manager, Claire Palmer, says community spaces are vital elements of shared infrastructure, removing the challenge of trying to find a suitable place to meet.

“When you remove locations and logistics as a barrier, the space becomes a reliable and convenient enabler for community connection,” she says.

Here are 10 ways that modern developments are building neighbourhood networks for residents to bond.

1. Street parties

Gathering outside on a balmy night is a time-honoured way to mingle and meet people in your area.

Masterplanned communities often host parties on-site for residents – whether in an urban laneway, leafy park or neighbourhood block – ranging from low-key barbecues to vibrant block parties and food-truck festivals.

Want to organise your own community event? Check with your local council to see what is required (and allowed) to host a neighbourhood shindig.

2. Social media groups

Local-area Facebook groups can assist with authentic neighbourly connections, from finding out the source of that 3am noise to seeing if anyone has a spare lemon.

Mrzyglocki says loneliness has long been an issue in the community and wasn’t talked about but is now much more commonly discussed.

“We’ve got lots of people that need a hand, and it’s often something easy that neighbours can do,” she says.

“But someone has to ask, and someone has to respond. Facebook groups can offer those opportunities.”

3. Book clubs

Book clubs appeal to readers of all ages and are much more common that you might think.

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You may already live somewhere with a community space, in which case, the work is done for you.

To find one nearby, enquire at your local library or ask around on online groups. Starting your own is another option if you’re feeling inspired.

4. Health and wellness

Activities that benefit the mind and body can be a fun way to meet people and don’t need to be restricted to indoor venues.

You can join local groups for a range of pursuits, such as bike riding, swimming, walking, yoga and even birdwatching.

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Frasers Property Australia incorporates residential amenities in their communities to help improve wellbeing, including swimming pools, sport facilities, activity centres and green open spaces.

Luxury apartment developments regularly feature wellness studios with premium amenities such as Pilates and yoga studios, saunas, gyms and meditation spaces.

5. Movie nights

From summer outdoor screenings to council-approved community events, attending a movie night is a great way to bond.

Some apartment developments feature in-house cinema facilities to appeal to film buffs, while screenings in the park are popular at new residential estates.

If you have a cinema nearby, you could always create a movie club.

6. Group classes

In the words of Leonardo da Vinci, learning never exhausts the mind.

Why not try ballroom dancing? Crafting, cooking, wine-tasting? If you’re lucky, that class might be just outside your apartment door.

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Mrzyglocki says Frasers Property communities have classes tailored to their location and demographic, such as yoga on the beach for coastal communities or flower-arranging in a nature-inspired estate.

7. Community gardens

From both a socialising and sustainability perspective, gardening is in.

David Mazzotta, Senior Community Development Manager at Frasers Property, says they have embraced and integrated community gardens for residents at several developments.

They even have an urban farm on the roof of one of their shopping centres, Mazzotta says.

Frasers Property has partnered with a local social enterprise called Cultivating Community, in an initiative that has produced well over a tonne of produce in twelve months.

The collaboration is providing food relief to those in need, as well as hosting workshops and helping people with food literacy and general health and wellbeing.

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8. Networking sessions

Local business networking opportunities are a great way to connect. Business seminars can offer professional insight as well as social engagement and information.

Mazzotta says Frasers Property regularly run business working events within their communities, which can include guest speakers.

“We had one recently that focused on women, their businesses and career aspirations,” he says.

If your apartment building has a co-working space, there might be scope to organise meetups with other professionals.

Play games

Children make friends by playing together, so why shouldn’t adults do the same?

If your community has shared spaces, such as a library, community centre or park, chances are there’s a social group centred around games. If not, create one.

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Whether playing cards, Scrabble, mahjong, bocce or lawn bowls, there’s a reason why games are a popular pastime for communities the world over.

10. Volunteering

Getting involved in the community may mean finding ways in which you can help.

One proactive resident at Brookhaven – a close-knit Frasers Property community in Queensland – created the Adopt-an-Aged-Care-Resident initiative to provide company for elderly neighbours.

Michelle Hunter co-ordinates with nearby aged care homes to organise visitors and support meaningful connections for those experiencing loneliness.

“My personal philosophy is that if you are in a position to do something good for another person, you should do it,” Hunter says.

Originally published as ‘Laneway parties, Facebook groups and book clubs: 10 ways to build the modern community

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