Community Unfold: Episode 2

In conversation with Alana Daly, Head of Community at Urban Campus

With coliving enthusiasts and professionals continuing to define what coliving is and how this industry is adapting to find more strong and sustainable strategies for the coming years, we hosted Episode 2 of the Community Unfold series to underscore the importance of community in the coliving market.

Recently, I teamed up with Alana Daly, Head of Community at Urban Campus, to get her insights on where she thinks the industry currently is and how she is building strong community experiences in her coliving space.

In this episode, we'd share the key insights we took away from the session.

If you have different thoughts about how building a strong community should be placed at the forefront of the values for coliving spaces – we'd love to hear thoughts! It’s a vast topic and this list is endless. Please feel free to comment or reply to this email.

Let's take a look at some of the big ideas:

What is the importance of community in a coliving? 

Alana: Societal changes have redefined the way we live, work, and connect with people in cities. People are working remotely, travelling more, and moving their living location more frequently. In an always evolving, fast-paced world where we are more “connected” than ever, we find ourselves leading more independent, isolated lifestyles.

In addition to this, every day we are growing increasingly more aware of the need for human connection as well as the desire to belong. People actively seek growth opportunities to develop themselves both professionally and personally.

At Urban Campus, we foster an environment of growth, support, and trust thereby creating the foundation for our members to integrate into the community seamlessly and find a sense of belonging. 

We equip our residents with the necessary tools and resources to be the creator of their experiences, empowering them to generate value for themselves and for those around them, taking this knowledge and applying it in their future endeavors. The more they are involved in the community-building process, the more they have a feeling of community.

What does it mean to live in a community? How are you doing for Urban Campus?

Alana: Creating the right environment for our residents to grow and continue their journey of lifelong learning is one of our main objectives when fostering community.

Our community acts as a catalyst. Our members have the opportunity to meet individuals from all over the globe, connecting with entrepreneurs, professionals, and freelancers. We give our residents ownership over their experience to work towards collective growth and a common goal.

Aligned with our vision of community we designed 3 formats for our members, each with a different objective - “Community Sessions”

  • Grow Together

  • Learn Together

  • Create Together

These tools are at our community’s disposal whenever they’re looking for support or guidance, want to share their experience, or are ready to create an impact in a field they are passionate about.

Practical example: Four residents from one of our coliving spaces recently launched a collaborative business. Looking for support, they turned to the community, through the use of our Create Together format they were able to organize a session to work on designing the brand around their new business (humanizing their brand and creating impactful storytelling)

How does community impact the business in a coliving?

Alana: Our community-building approach is both scalable, profitable and contributes to higher financial performances of the buildings we manage.

By creating an experience based on ownership residents take better care of the space as they feel it is their own, thereby reducing operational and maintenance costs.

As our community grows, the bonds between our residents strengthen, this leads to a reduction in commercialization costs with higher referrals and a stronger word of mouth, as well as an increase in the average duration of stay.

In fact, on average our members stay around 11 months. 85% of our community feels less lonely after joining us, 75% love us for community and networking, and 95% would recommend us.

Tell us about the initial struggles you faced/are facing with building & managing your community for Urban Campus?

Alana: But it’s not all rainbow and unicorns - as operators, we face a difficult challenge, which is to successfully and continuously communicate a single solidified message throughout all our channels to ensure that residents who join Urban Campus understand their role in the community. This starts in awareness, follows through to the visit, and eventually the onboarding process.

We’ve worked hard on fine-tuning our marketing and sales message and made continuous improvements in the selection process to make sure there is alignment throughout each expectation point. Onboarding here is another key point I’d like to touch on. Through our onboarding process, we continue to reinforce the same message through educating new residents about what the community expects of them, sharing coliving guidelines and conflict resolution tools, and explaining how to create and access community value.

Big thanks to Alana Daly for being a lovely contributor and providing such amazing insights into the discussion. Looking forward to much more interesting conversations. More power to you and your community!