We asked Jeffrey DeMure to give us a little more insight into his upcoming presentation at PCBC 2014. He brings national experience, architectural expertise, and a passionate voice to this year’s conference. We are so excited to give you a sneak peek of what he has to say!
Contributed by Jeffrey DeMure
Clearly we’ve moved beyond the golf-and-clubhouse era of community amenities. What are the things that motivate today’s consumer in new-home developments?
The Holy Grail of community design—of any offering, for that matter—isn’t any one thing, it’s aligning with people’s values in an authentic, engaging, and personal way. The problem with designing around a single focal point, like a golf course, is you’re creating a homogenous, ubiquitous, shrink-wrapped community with a multimillion dollar amenity that only a small percentage of people get to experience. What you need to do instead is create something that resonates with people on an emotional level. Walking trails, trees that start out bigger than the stakes holding them up, distinctive architecture. And, by the way, please don’t name the community after the amenity you destroyed to create it (ahem – Fox Run Estates).
Sounds like great advice. How can builders and developers do a better job of aligning with homebuyers’ values?
The key is to be passionately authentic about what you do. Don’t latch onto trends, because the trend will change before you catch up. Define your values, articulate those values, and make them a way of life in the community you’re creating. One of the communities we’ll talk about in our panel is Stapleton in Denver, which happens to have a lot of dog lovers. So each year the developer publishes a dog calendar comprised entirely of photos submitted by their homeowners. The photos are not only remarkably creative, they’re also, more importantly, a fantastic way of expressing the community’s personality.
Once you’ve identified your community’s values and baked them into the cake, so to speak, what next? How do you maintain that momentum?
It’s simple: stay involved in the communities you create. The best source of new clients are happy existing clients who will gladly refer their friends to you and do business with you again in the future. People like doing business with people, not companies. Instead of advertising in the Sunday paper, host a block party and man the barbecue yourself. Be present. Create a tribe. To paraphrase Hugh MacLeod, mediocre communities have residents, great communities have tribes.
Register for PCBC 2014 by clicking HERE.