18 July 2019   

3 mins read
Moving to a new neighbourhood is like anticipating a first date – there’s nervous excitement and the thrill of the unknown.

But most people are looking for long-term love, both of our home and those we share it with. So, Australians are redefining village life, reclaiming the idea of community to reflect contemporary pastimes and preoccupations.

Urban planners, developers and all levels of government are eagerly responding to the insistence on enhanced liveability, delivering multiple connection sites that encourage new communities to come together.  

In fact, each year Stockland measures their community’s Liveability to ensure they are designing communities around what matters most.

Here are six top tips to fast-track new friendships and make a new neighbourhood feel like home:

1. Introduce yourself

Tried and true through the ages, knocking on your neighbour’s front door bearing baked goods is guaranteed to make a good first impression. An immediate sense of safety and belonging can be cultivated by knowing thy neighbour, and there may just be a lifelong confidante waiting over the fence.

And if you’re not feeling up to door-knocking, many new communities will host organised ‘meet your neighbour events’ to help break the ice.

Stockland’s Cloverton community in Melbourne’s North releases a calendar of events each month that residents are welcome to attend, including school holiday activities and Christmas gatherings.

More established communities may also have a residents association such as Highlands Community Residents’ Group in Victoria, or Treeby Community Association at Calleya in Western Australia.

2. Visit your local dog park or cafe

Take note of where people gather and get amongst it. Animal ownership is the perfect conduit for connection; daily park walks in the morning or evening afford invaluable opportunities for meeting like-minded people and their pets.

Willowdale in Sydney’s south west, for example, instantly established its 25ha of open space as a canine nirvana after opening late 2017. Now known to locals as Dogwood Park, the quality of this award-winning environment speaks as much to people as to pooches.

3. Get Active

A community that glows together, grows together. Breaking a sweat with other locals is three-fold: you meet fellow residents, get acquainted with local green spaces and improve your fitness. 

WA’s Amberton Beach community is one of several communities nationwide to embrace Stockland’s Live Life Get Active free fitness program, including boxing, cross-training and yoga.

Residents are also able to get active by kicking the footy on the oval, hitting up the basketball courts, walking or cycling on endless trails, playing at the park, or going for a walk or swim at the beach. 

In Victoria, runners of all levels meet early every Saturday for the timed 5km Highlands Parkrun. Live Life Get Active programs are available all over the country.

4. Get involved in community organisations and schools

Education infrastructure is essential for building vibrant new communities. It’s also the perfect place for parents and children to get to know people in the area, which ultimately improves safety and fosters a sense of belonging. 

Confirmation that Baringa State High School will open its doors in 2021 makes the Aura development on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast a great long-term proposition for families.

If your kids are grown or you are child-free, Volunteer Australia will gladly steer your interests.

5. Shop locally and explore

Nothing is more pleasurable than exploring a new ‘hood and discovering your new favourite locals. 

Friendly exchanges with your butcher and baker not only brighten their day, they’re important building blocks in developing lasting connections. Highlands in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, already includes restaurants, retail and refreshment outlets, providing countless possibilities for interaction and affinity.

This includes Waterside Café, which overlooks the lake at Highlands, and where the owner knows many customers by name (and coffee order!).

6. Check out the amenities

Enhanced amenity is a key liveability measure, inviting you to leave your comfort zone and explore the surrounding area.

Great design is another great way to build a sense of community with plans unveiled for WA’s stunning Amberton Lighthouse Park, plus Sydney’s Elara already boasts new sports fields, dedicated cycleways and play areas with the recently opened, Livvi’s Place Playground.

In fact, WA’s Whiteman Edge boasts a park within 300m of every home – residents can walk to the famous Jungle Park, explore the all-abilities Livvi’s Playground or enjoy a picnic.

Many local groups use Facebook to find new members and post updated event information – it’s a great starting point when you’re the new kid in town. And before you know it, you’ll be the one welcoming the fresh arrivals, regaling them with tales of how it all began.