Having a shared space in communities that members can use is an essential piece of cultivating a happy, safe community. While there are many different reasons that a person or business might find themselves in need of a community space, all of them require that the building be welcoming and secure. Use this guide from RCI + Topsail to help make sure your community building is one people will want to use over and over.
1. Ensure Visibility
In your shared space, ensuring that community members feel safe is the first step to getting them to trust the venue and feel comfortable using it. Adequate lighting throughout the building and for parking garage structures is important, particularly for stairways and walkways where individuals might be alone and vulnerable. While the light itself can’t protect from criminal activity, it helps deter it and makes interactions more easily caught on camera. Pal American Security suggests the use of ample lighting, quality security cameras and controlled access to increase safety.
2. Design for Usability
Many organizations that want to use such a space would appreciate presentation capabilities, which means you need to have the technology to facilitate these. Tables and chairs that can be set up for audience members are necessary. Having conference tables with USB ports or power grommets throughout the room where attendees can plug in laptops, phones and other technology is an appealing draw that many will want to take advantage of.
Community buildings also host bridal and baby showers, birthday parties and even wedding receptions, so having space to facilitate these should also be a priority. Because of the nature of these parties, food often needs to be refrigerated or frozen, making adequate refrigerator and freezer space a top priority. Tables in a variety of shapes and sizes as well as chairs should also be available, and having a variety of tablecloths and chair covers on hand will be greatly appreciated.
3. Prepare for Emergencies
When catastrophe hits, shared community spaces take on new importance. Being set up to withstand the natural or manmade disasters your area is most prone to is necessary if you want your space to be one that the community can use in times of emergency. The Department of Homeland Security recommends keeping ready kits on hand in case of emergencies. These include water, food, a battery-powered radio and a first aid kit which all also apply to community buildings, but other larger items should also be on hand and precautions taken for bigger spaces.
Generators that keep the building running throughout extended power outages can be a lifesaver in times of need. Installing foundation vents and applying coating and sealants ahead of time can help prevent flooding that can occur during hurricanes or prolonged periods of rain. Many natural disasters can cause items that are not adequately secured to walls to cause injuries, so ensuring furniture firmly in place can help minimize damage.
Making your space a place where people feel safe is a worthwhile use of your time and energy. Keep people safe with well-lit spaces, consider usability, and make emergency preparations.