Requirements for modern housing are changing dramatically: what was available yesterday only in the premium segment, today has become the norm in the residential complexes of comfort class. The author — Andrey Kolochinskiy, managing partner of «VectorStroyFinance».
Developers, spurred by competition, go out of their way to offer buyers something new, functional, original. But do their customers appreciate it? Creating a comfortable environment requires the efforts of both parties, and often the residents are not ready for offers of the market. Developers should not let the situation take its course, you need to re-educate customers.
Competition forces developers to constantly move forward, improving the quality of residential complexes and — more broadly — the environment in which they fit. Companies not only invest in the quality of construction, but also carefully consider the improvement of the surrounding area, offering non-standard solutions designed to make life comfortable and pleasant even in the details. Grass lawns were replaced by geoplastic, dry creeks and ponds, creative recreation areas for adults and complexes with professional equipment to workout have been added to the standard playgrounds for children and sports, the territory of many new buildings are now decorated with art objects. Trying to distinguish their projects among the mass of residential complexes, developers offer original ideas, not always thinking about what fate awaits their brainchild after commissioning. And this fate is not always enviable.
The quality of the living environment, the preservation of small architectural forms, and just the appearance of common areas depend not only on how well they are made. Equally important is how people treat them. Finding a natural breakdown, untidy garbage at the entrance or something like that, residents tend to turn to the management company. In most cases, it is not difficult to report a problem and wait for its solution. But the real headache of developers and management companies is quite different: scorched buttons in the elevator, inscriptions on benches, graffiti on buildings, mutilated art objects. All these are examples of intentional vandalism, which is not so easy to deal with systematically, from day to day. Practice shows that regular repair of damaged does not solve the problem as such. The root of this phenomenon is that people whose quality of life and habitat has improved many times in recent years, were not too ready to appreciate what a decade ago was available only to a select few.
In conversations with colleagues-developers we more often can hear stories about that in quite modern residential complex where decent people live, suddenly a new punching bag on the playground was cut, hanging rattan armchairs were spoiled or art object (controversial though) made by special order, designed to make the environment of the specific complex more human and alive was mutilated.
It is not in individual cases: practice shows that a single wrecking triggers a chain reaction. This phenomenon is well studied and was called the theory of broken windows, which was formulated in 1982 by American sociologists James Wilson and George Kelling. Its essence is as follows. If in the building one window is broken and no one fixes it, then after a while there will not be a single whole window. A number of specially conducted experiments have shown that a person violates the law not only because of lack of education: surroundings influence greatly on persons behavior. That is, quite decent people, usually not breaking the law, led by a bad example, are able to ruin even the best intentions of the developer or management company.
The result is that much that seems to be appreciated, people spoil with their own hands. And not just spoil: with similar examples they motivate their neighbors to join the game and continue what they started. And when such a mechanism is launched, no management company can cope with maintaining a comfortable environment. Moreover, this behavior is able to demotivate the developer to do something beyond the necessary, because we all love when the results of our work are appreciated.
Momentary reaction to vandalism, typical for developers and for residents not involved in sabotage — reproaches of the management company, requests to strengthen security and improve video surveillance. But can the secondary camera, and the staff of security truly systemically rectify the situation, make people take responsibility for their actions and not to restrict their interest to a threshold of their own apartment?
What can be done here and now to somehow fix this situation? Developers should not limit their activities to the organization of the construction process. It is necessary to assume a new function — to create conditions for acquaintance and communication of residents in order to form a community and revive good neighborly relations. In addition to traditional community work days and holidays, which today will not surprise anyone, it is necessary to think through a comprehensive program of activities and special places of leisure, where people can interact on a regular basis and feel responsible to each other and to the environment created around a particular residential complex.
The same sports activities on the territory of the residential complex (weekly football training, workout under the guidance of professional athletes, preferably from among the residents) not only popularize a healthy lifestyle, but also bring together the participants, creating the effect of life in a large family. In such an atmosphere, everyone will inevitably become part of a friendly community, begin to feel involved in the events happening around, associate your home with the residential complex as a whole. And it will become more difficult to be engaged in vandalism, and will just give negative emotions.
This is not an easy path, but it is necessary to pass it, because, as the ancients said «nothing is born out of nothing.» Developers should not abandon the original solutions and pleasant things: in systemic, continuous work, the effect will inevitably be reached, and the residents will expand the boundaries of the world, which is to protect, first to the entrance, then home, then to all areas of the residential complex. And maybe, if you do not constrain the flight of imagination, such creative energy and respect for what you have, will step over the boundaries of a particular residential complex or even a city.