The word ‘local’ is appearing to become ever-more ubiquitous with many brands seeking to play a part in the growing trend of community-focused culture. Much of this is being prompted by a significant shift in neighbourhood design. Both rural and urban residential areas are being shaped by locality, with residents wanting to have a greater deal of control over the society and culture their local environment hosts.
This is manifesting in a number of ways, with an increasing number of small businesses taking occupancy on the high street and community buildings becoming host to local groups and events. Online groups are also growing in local areas too. Facebook groups and Nextdoor pages are thriving with ever greater numbers as households seek to be in tune with the area’s activity.
One of the most interesting ways that this locality is influencing neighbourhoods, however, is through property design. Households are utilising their properties not purely as living spaces but as social spaces too. Glance into the windows of a home’s facade and it is increasingly common to see a display, such as a range of products for sale or notices of local events. Some residents will also sell their products on their doorstep or even sell from their doors. Such features have often been seen in countryside landscapes, with homes selling eggs or flowers, but are now more regularly spotted in towns and cities too.
It is the garden that is truly being utilised as a community space. Beyond residents swapping their garden sheds for log cabins and annexes, so as to begin their own local business venture, they are also host to community activities and initiatives too.
Take, for example, allotments and growing spaces, which are known for their extremely long waitlists. Some residents can wait for years before being able to access their own small patch of land. This need has been recognised by other residents, those with gardens and who are often unable to take utmost care of their own space, and is leading to residential gardens being offered to local growers as a private allotment. Those wanting to create their own landscape have access to a garden space and those with a garden can enjoy a well-kept outdoor space that also comes with a seasonal harvest too.
This example is just one of many ways in which homes are increasingly becoming shared. Garages and parking spaces, as well as the vehicles they host, are also becoming part of the community landscape, being shared and rented to other local residents who might be able to make good use of them. In this case, the motivator is partly financial and residents are seeking to split the costs of their assets with other locals who are looking to also do the same.
Brands are placing a greater emphasis on this locality as it also benefits their business. With a greater degree of locality, products can be more specifically and accurately targeted, reducing risks associated with investments, hence why larger shop spaces are being replaced with smaller and more locally-focussed alternatives.