Why Community Managers matter to our neighbourhoods
27 November 2019

Why Community Managers matter to our neighbourhoods

The real estate sector is undergoing a transformation as buyers increasingly prioritise services over spaces. In this service-driven market, building a strong sense of community is an important asset; however, this is something traditional business models have struggled to achieve.

If we are to continue providing homebuyers with compelling places to live, we need to think not only about the physical structures we build but also the ways we can help residents connect with each other and empower them to enhance their own communities through convenience and services. This is where Community Managers, a traditional concept enhanced by mobile technology, can help both developers and residents.

The central function of a Community Manager is to work alongside residents, helping them settle in and collaborating with existing households to improve quality of life in their district through solutions to their everyday problems. This often means hitting the streets, organising local meetings, and engaging on a one-to-one basis to understand how residents’ lives can be made better.

With the aid of Planet Smart City’s Planet App, our Community Managers are now able to minimise administrative burdens and maximise their time working with residents.

The role of Community Managers

With the aid of mobile applications such as Planet Smart City’s Planet App, Community Managers are now able to minimise administrative burdens and maximise their time working with residents.

The Planet App, for example, allows residents to book community spaces and organise meetings online. This is not only good for the business, which gets greater productivity from its Community Managers, but for residents, who get more face-to-face time with someone specially trained to help improve their neighbourhoods and districts. 

Managers help to build community bonds
By running events that bring people together, our Managers help to build community bonds that grow outside of these contexts.

 

Why does this matter? Well, Community Managers serve as an important link between residents and developers, supporting a mutually positive ongoing relationship. Homeowners are able to settle more comfortably into the community and the continuous dialogue among residents helps foster a greater sense of belonging and security, even in areas with legacy issues such as an association with crime.

What’s more, residents who feel developers care about their lives are more likely to raise potential issues before they become points of confrontation, encouraging a collaborative approach to problem-solving. 

Case study in Italy

Planet has seen this in Quartiere Giardino, one of its projects in Turin, where one of the smart solutions implemented was the neighbourhood’s Library of Things. This resource is designed to help people borrow everyday items like ladders and power drills.

The spread-out nature of the neighbourhood would have made it difficult to use the service if it had been placed in a single location: it is a service that focuses on proximity because borrowing must be convenient, fast and simple.

This prompted our Community Manager, Elena Fabris, to work with residents and some local social organisations to come up with a different formula for the service. Thanks to the collaboration of some local retailers, who agreed to host objects in their stores, they opted for a decentralised system.

With no additional costs for the service, residents were able to loan various objects from multiple easy to reach places in the neighbourhood, while the retailers involved in the service benefitted from becoming more well-known in the community. 

Empowering residents

The successful transformation of Planet’s Library of Things is a perfect illustration of how much residents themselves can achieve in their neighbourhoods when united by a Community Manager.

In Smart City Laguna, one of our smart cities in Brazil, the Community Manager has been welcoming the first residents and is focused on working towards their needs while settling in a new district.

While Community Managers can act as a catalyst for community action, their goal over time is to empower residents to organise themselves and shape the neighbourhood to the priorities of those who live there, fostering community life that is both rich and self-supporting.

Brazilian residents
Our Brazilian residents also benefit from Community Managers, as seen through successes such as this craft workshop.

 

Meeting local needs

By engaging closely with residents, developers can ensure projects are tailored to the needs of local people and discover new ideas and approaches for different markets. This results in closer communities and happier residents while increasing the value of properties by making the area more desirable. In addition, a close relationship between community and developer can encourage residents to return to the same company or recommend it to their network. 

To meet the demands of today’s homebuyers, developers need to place people at the heart of their projects. While the latest technology can play an important role in our cities, this should come with an emphasis on how it can help bring communities together. By enhancing the role of the Community Manager, developers enable a positive force within their communities, transforming a buyer-seller relationship into a collaborative engagement.

This shift plays an integral role in helping developers make the right choices for their communities and empowering residents to come together for the good of their neighbourhoods. It helps residents feel safer and happier while ensuring we, the developer, enjoy the benefits of communities full of vitality and purpose. 

Alan Marcus
Chief Digital Strategy Officer

 

Ideas, innovation and influence: exploring the role of our world-first Competence Centre
19 November 2019

Ideas, innovation and influence: exploring the role of our world-first Competence Centre

From the very start of our existence in 2015, Planet Smart City’s team has been committed to shifting the paradigm around global real estate and affordable housing. Key to our ambitions is our Competence Centre, which is a central point for Planet’s operations worldwide and helms our partnerships with key partners and developers.

When the company was founded, our CEO, Gianni Savio, scoured the market for a company able to provide integrated smart solutions support, but he was unable to find one with the scope and ambition we needed. Because of this, he started the centre as an in-house research and development lab. Even now, it is the only institution of its kind in the world and, as such, is an invaluable asset.

The primary roles of the Competence Centre are to design the masterplans, smart solutions and optimisation processes for our projects worldwide and offer uniquely comprehensive consultancy services to third-party developers and local governments.

In order to do this, we have created our own methodology which consists of four key areas: planning and architecture, technological systems, social innovation and the environment. This includes digital services design, such as for our Planet App, which is as an interface for residents to interact with each other and with the smart city development they live in.

This ‘four pillars’ methodology was devised by us and allows our centre to approach challenges in an effective, well-rounded and unparalleled way.

SeiMilano project
We offer third-party consultancy services to developers worldwide, such as for the SeiMilano project in Milan, Italy

 

However, what it is that makes the Competence Centre a fully realised force for change, as well as an influential driver of cutting-edge smart solutions innovation, may not be immediately obvious. After all, the vast majority of companies work from offices or coworking spaces, with a high proportion of these splitting their team across countries or even continents, just as we do.

What makes us different is pulled from people and their brilliant, diverse experiences of what it means to tackle the global housing challenge worldwide, as opposed to bricks and mortar. It exists at the intersection of the different members of the Planet team, made up of architects, engineers, sociologists, communicators and mathematicians.

Our colleagues share a determination to stay at the vanguard of new concepts across construction, tech and social innovation, but each brings a different viewpoint and approach to problem-solving into play.

The Competence Centre is reliant on forward-thinking people and their willingness to innovate. In turn, they are able to use Planet’s reputation and willingness to work at the cutting-edge of the industry to explore their ideas and shine a spotlight on the best ones. In my opinion, this cooperative approach sets us apart from other organisations in the field.

Social innovation solutions
Social innovation solutions, such as our Smart City Laguna library, are one part of our ‘four pillars’ methodology

 

It also seems fair to state that the bulk of innovation in the real estate market is focused on technological development. Unlike our competitors, the Competence Centre’s approach is more multifaceted, stemming from the varied needs of the communities we work in and focused on putting solutions where they are best placed to maximise both infrastructure functionality and wellbeing.

Our integrated smart solutions programme is effective precisely because the Competence Centre formulates it from the ground up and across all four of the key areas discussed above. We also respect the role that thorough research plays in the work we carry out at the centre, which is data-driven, meticulously tested and intellectually rigorous.

By diligently staying at the forefront of the smart city concept, we are able to anticipate trends before they break into public knowledge and use logical tactics to separate futureproof innovations which will add value to our projects from unsustainable or weakly-realised ideas (which might seem interesting at first glance but not survive more sustained interrogation).

Planet works on a global scale and with global ambitions, but pull our strategies from local demands and cultural realities – after all, our aim is to provide affordable homes in countries where there is a need for them, not design smart developments that look impressive in theory but fail to consider that the households who live there need to feel comfortable and benefit from features that they will actually use.

As we grow, we plan to establish subsidiary Competence Centres in other countries so as to accurately reflect and interpret regional intelligence. Just as can be seen in Turin, these centres will provide evidence of the vibrancy and cutting-edge nature of the way we work and have already attracted interest from exciting minds from a range of backgrounds and disciplines.

Having a consistent presence on the ground allows us to have direct experience of the countries in which Planet works and thus understand more accurately the specifics of the local environment and adapt strategies accordingly.

Smart City Laguna
The work of the Competence Centre influences every aspect of our large-scale projects, such as Smart City Laguna

 

Our people-first approach is fundamental, not just for members of the team but for the residents and consumer base that we strive to advocate and provide for. As well as working on services and infrastructure for Planet’s own smart city developments, such as Smart City Laguna and Smart City Natal, we offer project consultancy services to leading local developers and government bodies, with a focus on municipality regeneration.

By centring our practice around the simple idea that people look to digital, architectural and social innovation services to improve their quality of life, we are able to integrate a wide range of smart solutions in the projects we work on that function as a considered whole.

We also constantly revise our strategies and smart solutions catalogue to locate holes in the market and respond to changing community demands. By striking what I know to be a best-in-class balance between practical demands and blue-sky thinking, the Competence Centre safeguards itself against the future, anticipating possible developments and new ideas, while crafting functional, integrated frameworks for our residents to call home.

I am immensely proud to work as part of a driving force for change that is as vital as our Competence Centre, with our place in the industry becoming more influential as we prove time and time again that our methodology works.

As we continue to grow and our world-first base in Italy transitions to being part of a network of centres, I am confident in the team’s ability to tackle creatively and with keen minds the challenges that the global housing crisis poses.

Cristiano Radaelli
Chief Innovation Officer

Planet is at Smart City Expo World Congress 2019
11 November 2019

Planet is at Smart City Expo World Congress 2019

From 19th to 21st November, we will be taking part in the world’s largest event for cities, the Smart City Expo World Congress. Describing its purpose as ‘to empower cities and collectivise urban innovation across the globe’, the expo features exhibitors from around the world, all of whom are leaders in the smart city and urban planning industries. 

The expo is held in Barcelona, which is a city with a consistent track record of capitalising on new technologies and concepts such as the Internet of Things and has been described by the Financial Times as having ‘a reputation for being at the forefront of urban technological innovation’.

We will be in attendance as part of the Italian pavilion, presenting Planet’s unique proposition through our stall with particular emphasis placed on the role of our digital services, such as the Planet App.

Having been recognised by Fortune Italia earlier this year as one of the 20 top start-ups in the country, Planet is looking forward to presenting our ideas and successes in the context of peers and fellow smart cities industry leaders.

This year’s event is centred around social inclusion and sustainability, concepts which we already place at the heart of our methodology and which are thus reflected in the smart solutions we offer.

More than twenty thousand participants passed through the doors of last year’s expo, so our presence represents an important opportunity for us to reach both market stakeholders and interested parties from the media and elsewhere. According to figures provided by Smart City Expo, 60% of attendees can be classed as decision-makers so we look forward to capitalising on subsequent networking opportunities

If you’d like to find out more about the Smart City Expo, or buy tickets, please click here. We’d love to see you at our stand, so please come along to find out more about who Planet are and what we plan to achieve in the future; we’re in Hall Two, at stand 117.