Property Management: Four Unconventional Approaches to Building Community


NanoTrail from PARK(ing) Day Dallas

Park & Recreation Department's NanoTrail for which you will not need hiking boots (Courtesy PARK(ing) Day Dallas)


This past Friday, Sept. 16, was PARK(ing) Day, an annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. This year brought the social experiment to Dallas for the first time with the goal of encouraging a more lively, active and community-oriented downtown neighborhood. “This temporary event will bring together residents, employees, and visitors to rethink the function of our public spaces… and have fun doing it,” said organizer Noah Jeppson.

Looking over the photos from the PARK(ing) Day Dallas Facebook page, I got to wondering how an event like this could be adapted for the multifamily space to create a livelier, active, and community-oriented apartment property.

There are all kinds of events an apartment property can host to foster a sense of community. From pool parties to sporting event watching parties, community events serve as a great way to connect with and meet new people while bringing residents closer together.

Aside from hosting your own PARK(ing) Day, here are a few property management ideas for building community that take a more non-conventional approach—ones that can be beneficial to residents, your apartment property, and even the environment.

Community Garage Sales

Personal belongings can pile up quickly. Over time, you may want to keep some things while some others may be ready for a new home. As the old saying goes – one man’s junk… Consider organizing a community garage sale. Residents can make a little extra money and probably save space in the local landfill on a few things that would have been thrown away.

Book Swap

A book swap is like the give a penny/take a penny cup you see at small retail shops. It works like it sounds: everyone brings books they’d be willing to part with and then all the attendees could pick through the selection and keep their “new” books…until the next book swap. Book clubs are another social activity you might consider organizing at your community.

Shred Your Personal Information Day

Not too long ago one of the local TV stations in the Dallas area offered free shredding of personal documents that were no longer needed. A great crowd showed up at the station. With identity theft a growing problem, offering shredding to your residents through companies specializing in mobile shredding will let them safely get rid of personal information. A quick Google search of mobile shredding companies should let you identify a company in your area. And often the shredded documents are recycled.

Community Garden

Whether you have available space on the ground or the rooftop, allowing your residents to create a community garden is a unique way for growing community. It can also serve as a feature to promote at your property and differentiate yourself from competitors. And think of the harvest-themed pool party you could throw in the fall! Check out for tips on starting your own.

So what unconventional property management activities have you seen or done at your properties to build community? Sound off with your ideas.


Contributor, Property Management Insider

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Michael Cunningham is Content Marketing Manager at ProofHQ, and the former Managing Editor of He worked as a social media manager for RealPage, Inc., a provider of on-demand software solutions that integrate and streamline single-family and a wide variety of multifamily rental property management business functions. He is responsible for promoting the company through various media channels, including editorial, print and online advertising, and social media. Michael received his education at Indiana University where he majored in English.

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