Sustaining A Great Lifetsyle In Our Over 55’s Developments

Understanding social sustainability with Platino Properties Marketing Director, Aliccia Azzimi

person holding white pen on brown wooden table

So, what is social sustainability? Social sustainability means different things to different groups. But in its broadest sense, it refers to the environment, systems and relationships that help people experience a sense of wellbeing.

Social Life, a UK-based social enterprise specialising in place-based innovation, defines social sustainability as “a process for creating sustainable, successful places that promote wellbeing, by understanding what people need from the places they live and work. Social sustainability combines design of the physical realm with design of the social world – infrastructure to support social and cultural life, social amenities, systems for citizen engagement and space for people and places to evolve.” These principles were borne out of the realisation that good living is about more than a ‘roof over your head’.

We all know of communities that were damaged or even destroyed by poor design or processes – high streets that became ghost towns because of bad planning, residential projects that developed reputations for strife and misery over time. These examples prove just how important social sustainability is to the success – or failure – of a project like Jardin.

Social Sustainability Fundamentals At Jardin

“At Jardin, before we even started designing, we were talking about the kind of place people really wanted to live in,” says Aliccia Azzimi – Marketing Director, Platino Properties. “Social sustainability for us was an absolute bedrock ethos.”

A Sense Of Belonging

Even though the apartments are for over 55s, the team’s intention has always been to stitch Jardin into the existing community, rather that develop a project that felt exclusive or somehow separate.

“We’re not gated – we never want residents to feel like they’re living in a bubble,” says Aliccia. “Jardin welcomes the local community and our commercial spaces on the ground and lower ground floors are specifically designed to encourage this interaction. Having local businesses on the floor of your building is undoubtedly a boon if you’re a resident, but we want everyone to feel welcome to come and have a coffee, visit the physio or enjoy our outdoor spaces.”

It’s about reducing barriers between people. It helps residents and locals develop friendships, so Jardin feels as much a part of the Northern Beaches neighbourhood as any other home. “Encouraging a sense of belonging – and a sense of acceptance – has so many benefits for everyone,” says Aliccia. “It also means people are more likely to look out for one another, which is a real marker of a successful and healthy community.”

Diversity And Inclusion

Encouraging diversity is also a crucial element of the Jardin experience. Residents come from all walks of life, from different cultures and varying levels of health and ability.

“Our residents have to be over 55, but that’s the only thing that’s the same across the board,” says Aliccia

“We’re excited to see what a diverse and interesting group of people are coming to live at Jardin – couples and singles, people from a very wide range of backgrounds, people who are still working, and people who are retired. It makes for a really dynamic social environment, and a welcoming one.”

Social Connections

To support that diversity, Jardin’s social infrastructure is designed to provide a myriad of options for people, based on their personal inclinations. There’s everything from structured classes and groups through to opportunities for incidental connections, while tending their garden plot in the rooftop garden, for instance.

Importantly, the team has been hard at work for over a year, building some of those community networks so that residents already feel at home, before they’ve even moved in.

“Some people love a full diary, others like a quiet, occasional get-together,” says Aliccia. “Living at Jardin, they’ll be able to find the kind of social interaction that’s best for them – there’s no ‘forced fun’ or timetables.”

With this flexible, adaptable social framework in mind, Jardin will include a range of thoughtful amenity to help residents pursue their interests the way they want.

The Wellness Centre, for instance, is designed to be used for activities like yoga, Pilates or Tai chi – but how and when residents want. Similarly, the Creative Studio gives residents a chance to flex their artistic side, while the billiards room will fast become a place to gather informally for a fun and friendly game or two.

Active Engagement

A thriving community is a healthy one. Jardin offers residents the chance to make the most of every day, with easy access to activities that promote a healthier, happier lifestyle.

“So much ill health and unhappiness is simply down to the fact that people find it hard to be active – their homes and daily lives just don’t work for them,” says Aliccia. “Jardin is purpose-built to give people lots of different ways to move, socialise and find the fun in life. We have a wellness centre, lovely gardens to stroll in, opportunities to grow your own food – even concierge to help with other health and wellbeing needs and services to make sure you’re feeling as good as you can. This all makes for a much happier sustainable life, in the long run.”

Aliccia says that, the work the team have put in now will pay dividends when residents move in. And the ethos is a moveable feast.

“We know that, once residents move in, everything will change,” says Aliccia. “Our intention has always been about planting the seeds of social sustainability that the community can nurture and develop organically. Some things will fade out – others will pop up out of nowhere. And a few will probably be surprise hits! We don’t know yet – but that’s what’s going to be really exciting to see.”