The Social Animator initiative is a social engagement program that works with renters in Concert Properties’ multi-unit buildings. The Social Animator works in close collaboration with residents to develop events that matter to them, ranging from emergency preparedness workshops to casual chats and even Easter egg hunts. This initiative was successfully piloted in 2018 as a partnership between Concert Properties and the City of Vancouver. Concert’s sustainability team recognized the incredible value of this program for residents’ wellbeing, empowerment, sense of belonging and even for their household budgets.
This year, the Social Animator initiative is becoming a permanent program with expansion to 15 buildings across Vancouver and Victoria. Happy Cities recognizes the importance of this initiative and believes it can spark change in the real estate industry by demonstrating measurable changes in residents’ wellbeing and social connectedness.
This is where Happy Cities comes in.
Social Animator program assessment
Happy Cities is measuring how social programming (events, gatherings, casual encounters, passive encounters and even digital activities) can boost wellbeing and sociability among residents. In order to do this, Happy Cities will conduct a social wellbeing post-programming study with Concert Properties and Collingwood Village residents. The study will span 1.5 years, including a baseline study before programmed activities start happening for comparison with post-programming data.
Our team aims to build a strong, wellbeing-driven case for implementing similar programs in other multi-unit developments. By identifying the key programming actions and spaces that promote social wellbeing and connectedness, we will generate crucial evidence on the types of actions that the housing industry could take in future developments.
*The Happy Cities team will also collaborate with the Social Animator and Community Connectors to come up with ideas for social activities, including those that are feasible with physical distancing requirements.
Who is the Social Animator?
A Social Animator is a person who works with a building’s residents to host events and activities. At Concert, this person is a full-time employee of Concert Properties. A Social Animator does not work alone. They are an important link between residents and property managers. This allows the Social Animator to host feasible events and activities that reflect residents’ needs and interests.
Who are the Community Connectors?
A Community Connector is a building resident who hosts events and organizes activities. Community Connectors also connect with other residents and promote activities. Depending on the arrangement, these positions can be entirely volunteer-based or supported by a small monthly honorarium.