Updated: Aug 17
Community amenities are public benefits, contributions, or improvements that can enhance and improve the quality of living in a particular community. Community spaces make life more pleasant for community residents and also widely considered by potential buyers too. In a small community, like an apartment block or subdivision, amenities can be the "extras" that make living there worthwhile. After all, community is a crucial component of living alongside one another, whether you’re in an apartment block or a subdivision.
What Is Considered an Amenity?
Community amenities include public and outdoor spaces like:
Child-friendly spaces like playgrounds and indoor play spaces
Pet-friendly amenities like dog-parks and apartments that accept companion animals.
Facilities to meet a range of other community needs, such as culture, recreation, and infrastructure.
Shopping and convenience stores that offer all the essentials just steps from community residents’ front doors
Outdoor recreational facilities that are environmentally kind.
Coworking spaces, especially in today's work-from-home environment.
Why Are Community Spaces Important?
Community spaces such as parks, playgrounds, picnic/ barbecue areas and other neighborhood spaces can play a vital role in building and sustaining communities. They act as a space where communities can be built and allow members their own time and space when needed. Again, as we connect remotely or online, having physical spaces to relate is essential to building a community and a sense of belonging.
Community Amenities Add an experience.
Community amenities tie residents and visitors to the locale through shared experiences. Participating in unique local customs, such as the rubber duck hunt in Chicago or a picnic in your building's barbeque space, fosters unity and connection.
Create a sense of community
Shared experiences help to create a sense of community. People forge connections based on common bonds and interests that they may not have experienced without a guide, or helping hand. A created community through a shared experience of living can reinforce commonalities to then create even more special experiences. So, we create our version of communities by connecting and doing.
Imagine running into your neighbor while you both are buying the same bottle of wine from your community grocery store in the ground floor of your apartment. These types of shared experiences foster relationships among residents and ultimately become a deciding factor when faced with a lease renewal or competitive offer to move to a new community.
The Impact of Community Amenities
Creating attractive and usable public spaces and other amenities can tremendously impact a community's health and well-being. However, it is not good enough just to say a locality has amenities. It must have the right amenities. Some of the more important benefits are:
Attracting New Residents - Good community amenities bring people to your community. Whether it's visitors to a museum, or those drawn in by the surrounding nature, visitors can become members of the community. Let current residents encourage new community members. Consider buildings in close proximity to open spaces with easy access to beaches or wilderness areas. Dedicated spaces for healthy activities and environmental preservation such as old-growth forests, retained prairies, or significant wetlands, can all bring in visitors who stay and become community members.
Fitness Centers - As we age and try to stay healthy, fitness centers can help to overcome the sedentary lifestyle that working from home - or in an office - forces on us. Fitness centers can help us stay healthy and, by encouraging group activities, can also help us build communities - another health-promoting activity.
Outdoor Spaces - Outdoor spaces, whether focused on picnicking and barbecuing or on playing games and sports, are amenities that help tremendously in building the community. Separate functions in a large space can become one large function, which reduces isolation for the sake of shared experiences.
Child-Friendly and Pet-Friendly Spaces - If your building/community has children, making a space expressly for them is a great idea. That kind of space keeps them occupied and happy while allowing parents to mingle as their children become friends. This can also be applied to our pets, as we let them play and enjoy the space they’re provided, we can also befriend other owners and forge bonds around common interests.
A Community Center - Providing Community Opportunities - If you live in a larger community, a subdivision or a group of related apartment buildings, having a community center can help to bring the large community into closer contact. Functions can be held through the center that will allow community building. Consider a center that may provide game nights or theatrical productions - both of which let people get to know one another. A community center can even organize community trips to plays and local attractions. Having a central location for this is a valuable amenity. A community center can also offer game rooms, allowing frequent social gatherings among residents.
Community Convenience Stores - Offering all the necessities and wants just steps away from the resident's front door has been shown to massively increase the overall quality of life among community residents. Mixed-use property has become more and more prevalent over the years as urbanization and the need to differentiate in a highly competitive community housing market continue to expand in major cities.
Concierge Services- Thinking about a community center reminds you that it is a perfect location for concierge services. Receiving packages, making reservations, helping you to find your way - all of these are amenities that will make your community life far more enjoyable. As amenities like parks and gyms are improved, crimes that may have occurred in them will be reduced by the greater presence of the populace and law enforcement.
Improving the Environment - Not only does the preservation and creation of a local community increase use of your home spaces, but it also reduces pollution by encouraging people to use public transit and pedestrian traffic while discouraging the use of motor vehicles in designated areas. If your community has room for community gardens for residents, even the tiniest space creates outdoor activity and fresh food, while scraps can become compost.
Top Community Amenities
In new-build residential areas, specific amenities top the list of desirable facilities. First among them are always green spaces and trail systems, with mainly paved systems that can be used by walkers, joggers, and cyclists.
Walkable main street village/town centers have also become extremely popular as those working from home look to do so in a less urban environment. These areas should have retail services and places like cafes and restaurants for gathering and socializing.
Due to the multitudes of amenity offerings appealing to residents in urban areas, community convenience stores stand out as the top community amenity. This is due to the quality of life improvement residents have just by being steps away from anything they could need. OTC medications, food, beverages, pet snacks, cleaning supplies, we could keep going on and on but just by having these items always available so close to home - the quality of life benefit outweighs all other amenities.
This summary would not be complete if we didn’t at least mention recreational facilities. These can include outdoor, resort-style pools, exercise rooms, and sophisticated fitness equipment are also among the more desirable amenities. Pet and child-friendly spaces like dog parks and playgrounds round out the top amenities that communities are looking for.
The Future of Community Amenities
Over the past two years, we have all experienced the disruption and change that COVID-19 has imposed on our lifestyles. The pandemic has also impacted current community amenities and planning for the future. However, for many months these spaces were closed to ensure safety guidelines were met. Those open public spaces required masks and social distancing, changing the density available in a public space and its layout. Any given facility's open or closed status must be clearly and currently communicated to the public.
The pandemic has also made everyone somewhat hyper-aware of the cleanliness of the facilities they visit. In this environment, all public amenities must be maintained in pristine physical cleanliness. Facilities operators also need to monitor any health guidance practices among visitors. If masks are required, it's vital to ensure guests know that. Signage and community are again crucial elements here.
In the end, American life is in a transition due to the pandemic and the digital age. We were already becoming less physically social when the pandemic forced us into lockdown. We have now become people who communicate online rather than in person. However, despite our attention to the online world, there are so many wonderful displays of community for people to discover in the future. There is growing attention to outdoor spaces, how we interact in community settings, and in sharing common interests. These commonalities bring us together to form communities. With continued attention to these points, we can truly use community spaces to create better interactions and lifestyles for so many people.