— By Glen Collins, founder of Autside —
Many people care deeply about their own wellness — not just fitness and nutrition, but overall physical, emotional and mental health. This has spurred multifamily property decisionmakers to reimagine how amenities can be leveraged to enhance vitality and well-being. The push to improve quality of life for residents offers additional advantages by bolstering tenant retention and making properties more desirable and competitive.
Active social spaces enhance well-being
According to the Urban Land Institute, top-ranked amenities that appeal most to today’s consumers include those located outdoors where people can meet and socialize, as well as amenities promoting healthy lifestyles.
Outdoor living spaces that encourage activeness and social interaction can have powerful impacts on human health and happiness. In fact, numerous studies point to the mood-lifting benefits of recreational fun out in nature, unplugged from technology and dynamically engaged with other people. This much-needed mental break from day-to-day stressors can go a long way toward improving emotional well-being and relationships.
The positive effects of physical activities on mind and body are also endorsed by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, a public health authority. “Physical activity’s implications for significant positive effects on mental health and social well-being are enormous, impacting every facet of life,” says the agency’s spokesperson, Paul Reed.
In addition to national health authorities, private university researchers have also spoken out on how the impacts of events in recent years have taken a toll on people’s minds, bodies and spirits. Pandemic-driven social distancing, for instance, has been linked to the deterioration of relationships and exacerbation of depression and anxiety, according to Cambridge University researchers. Psychology experts have also noted that practicing socialization skills makes it easier for people to reconnect and bounce back from the mental and emotional trauma of the pandemic.
Socially focused recreational activities can foster a sense of community and positively impact emotional and mental well-being. Fun outdoor games such as cornhole and pickleball, along with stacking games and “connect four” matches, are ideal for building camaraderie among people of all ages and demographics while making physical activity attractive and convenient.
Prioritizing amenities with quality, flexible designs
So what can multifamily properties do to support enhanced well-being in their tenants’ lives? Put simply: they can recognize and prioritize the opportunities that come with the recent surge in consumer demand for outdoor living options.
Gone are the days when a simple rooftop deck or small courtyard will suffice. Now, tenant must-haves include outdoor spaces that offer a variety of features and activities to enhance quality of life.
Shifting tenant priorities are spurring the exploration of premium amenity options that maximize space and are designed to last. High-quality products allow for long-term use and typically have fewer maintenance and repair needs, making the investment more cost-effective. What’s more, clever designs can not only maximize space, but also offer attractive aesthetics that enhance curb appeal around engaging lifestyle amenities.
While space adds value to any development, it is particularly important in densely populated urban areas. Portable outdoor games are designed for easy transport and storage, making them popular options for multifamily housing. They also unlock greater opportunities to flex valuable space rather than use permanent installations.
Innovative pickleball systems are quick to set up and tear down as needed. Cornhole and bocce ball games are a breeze to set up on rooftop decks. These easy additions go beyond the traditional route of offering standard BBQ grills and poolside amenities to appeal to a wider variety of interests and interactivity.
The overarching goal is to provide an array of engaging opportunities for residents to socialize with their neighbors.
Building community is key to tenant satisfaction
Designing outdoor living spaces to build a sense of community can be game-changing in attracting and retaining tenants. Physically energizing activities and dynamic connections ultimately deliver more enjoyable, positive experiences. Improving residential culture and ambiance can lead to higher occupancy rates and less turnover, a great consideration when renewing leases and generating long-term tenant satisfaction.
More “experiential” outdoor living spaces also boost property appeal because they are memorable and alluring. This gives property owners a more competitive edge in markets saturated by less-engaging, run-of-the-mill amenities.
The right mix of amenities is paramount to achieving tenant satisfaction in multifamily developments. The key is to differentiate properties in ways that truly resonate with people.
Outdoor living spaces designed to support overall well-being provide the value-added benefits that people crave. When tenants appreciate and value their living environments, they are more likely to remain long-term.
Glen Collins is the founder of Autside, a lifestyle brand that develops outdoor games and accessories with an emphasis on design and social good. With two decades of real estate and branding experience, Collins launched Autside’s “Feel Good Field Goods” to reflect his experience as a parent of a child with autism to help all communities invest in creating safe spaces to entertain people of all ages.