A halloween party for my fellow residences

Halloween Party

Islington wharf where I now live now has a fantastic communal garden (which I’ve been using to read my kindle and play with my pacemaker) and I thought it would be a grand idea to have a party in the garden for all the residences of islington wharf.

So the plan is to have the party and allow people to bring a couple of friends with them. I will lay on a bit of party snacks (I got plenty left over from my flat warming party back in September) and everyone will bring there own drinks. On top of that, there will be two contests, one for the best carved pumpkin and another for the best fancy dress on the day. I’ve roped ISIS’s hollie into supplying the pumpkins and maybe supplying some really nice prizes on the night to the winners.

Finally I thought it might be nice to have a organised trick or treat for the kids of islington wharf. Get everyone ready with treats and go around the flats with a couple of adults to supervise the whole thing. I’m not sure how many kids there are in the flats but I’ve seen a couple playing in the garden since I’ve been here. Its slightly ambitious but even if we get 10% of the residents down on Sunday night, thats still over 20 people.

So why am I doing this?

Well when I first saw the location the garden was certainly a selling point. I really wanted a balcony but I gladly gave it up for a communal garden which I could relax in and share with others. I’ve seen a few people using the garden but not nearly as many as I would have thought. The thing about flats is they have a rep for being impersonal and loney places where people tend to not talk to each other as they leave there flats. In actual fact Tracey Langford said it in her recent interview for east manchester.

Tracey, who runs her own business, says the idea of a community appealed to them too: “We didn’t want to live in an soulless place where nobody spoke in the lift.” She adds, “We also wanted a high proportion of owner occupiers so that people really cared about the building. There is a mix of properties here with houses that face on to the communal garden, which are ideal for younger families.”

And that communal aspect prevails. Says Tracey, “In fact, the first Islintgon Wharf baby was born here a couple of months ago and the whole building was invited to the first birthday party of one of our residents!”

Its all about Community

Community, yep the big C word. Its one of those things which is very hard to just do, it needs to be organic. But fear not, this is just one of the ideas I have to bring people together. ISIS haven’t done a bad job so far but theres certainly some room for improvement. The next logical step I think is to sort out the community forum which is currently hosted on a external site somewhere. I signed up to join the forum ages ago and my membership is still pending (even after months).

My neighbor across the hallway is talking about setting up another better supported forum but I’m wondering why we don’t just setup a facebook group? Although to be fair it seems I’m not the only one who thought about this. The tricky part in a community is getting everyone on the same page (or getting the word out about the site), this requires actual physical work like putting up posters and speaking to people, something which seems to be sadly missing it seems.

ISIS should be involved in the community process too, but not be the driver of the process. It needs to come from the community/residents its self.

So I’m hoping to improve on the community building which has already started. I can’t say it will translate into sales for ISIS but for me this isn’t about that. Its about building a lovely place to live. I already live in a amazing place with some great views and great architecture but in this case, theres nothing wrong with wanting more. A rich vibrant community of caring people who I can share a wine with in the garden? I’m working on it one step at a time…

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.