Do you live in an apartment or other owner’s corporation? Let’s talk about making owner’s corporations instruments for connected communities, environmental sustainability, and climate resilience.
Retrofitting community! Many apartments, medium density housing projects, and residential estates have a range of shared spaces and an owner’s corporation (OC). One in four people in Australia is part of an OC. These existing legal structures could be used more effectively to foster collaborative opportunities.
We don’t necessarily need to build bespoke cohousing projects. What the cohousing model offers is increased intentionality to live independently but act collectively toward shared values and goals.
OC’s can be limited by archaic rules and risk aversion rather than toward the potential of a connected community. What is lacking is the social infrastructure necessary to help bring community to life. Models for informal and formal interaction can be implemented to help liberate latent community spirit.
Many residents would like to collaborate on integrated sustainable building technology (solar installation, water collection, external shading) as well as collective participatory sustainability (shared food production, shared vehicles (EV), recycling), and mutual care opportunities. Existing instruments such as owners corporations or body corporations can be used but we need the soft skills to foster a collaborative mindset and collaborative decision-making processes.
Cathy Sherry is an Associate Professor at UNSW Law and Justice and a leading Australian expert on strata and community title. She provides advice to government and the private sector on the complexities of collectively-owned property both nationally and internationally. She recently redrafted Fiji’s Unit Titles Act and her book Strata Title Property Rights: Private governance of multi-owned properties (Routledge 2017) has influenced significant strata law reforms. Cathy’s research focuses on the social implications of private communities as well as optimal planning for children. Cathy has a special interest in urban farming and the challenges of providing growing space in high-density cities.
Nicholas Abbey has worked as an executive officer, policy developer, critical friend, chairperson, community organiser, strategist researcher, and stakeholder representative. He is the co-creator of the School Governance Network and Great Schools Network. He has long been a president of school councils. He was also a ministerial appointment to the board of the Victorian Institute of Teaching. He chaired the owner’s corporation of a large residential community over many years. He continues to be involved – at all levels – in owners’ corporation’s practice policy and strategy. Nicholas is passionate about partnerships, governance, community, inclusion, education, personal, and social change biodiversity, and the practical ‘how’ of improving outcomes. Participants are most welcome to contact Nicholas on 0402 152 634, email, as well as through Facebook and LinkedIn.