Friday, April 20, 2012

What every Housing Society in India should have?

What is a Housing Society?
Housing society is a term used to describe residential complexes usually consisting of buildings each having flats, especially in India. A housing society is a group of house owners generally residing in same building, apartments or same premises formed as per relevant laws for smooth functioning of utilities and other amenities provided to them. The housing society formed must be formally registered with registrar of Co-operatives. Each state has its own rules in this regard.
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Some Trends in India
An increasing trend is the rising demand and popularity of Housing Societies in India - and this is true for all economic sections of scoiety and in several parts all over India. Even families who can afford large independant houses prefer to purchase smaller houses in such housing societies. While a % of these purchases are purely from an investment stand-point, a significant number of families are looking to live in such housing societies.

The key reasons being:
* Emergence of the nuclear family in which there are at most 2 - 4 people living in a house. And hence, a smaller house set-up is probably sufficient and relevant to the current life style
* Increased need for personal safety and security - Also usually provided as a shared service by the Housing Society

Personally, I've lived and experienced both worlds - The life in a lavish independant house and the life in a housing society. And they both have their pros and cons - What you eventually choose for yourself is based on 2 things:
1) What you can personally afford?
2) What you personally need?

Also, I've increasingly observed a great diverity in the residents of any housing society. This includes
* Diversity in age - from new born babies to people in their late 80's
* Diversity in professions - from writers, to Bollywood celebrities, to IT professionals, to business owners, to government employees, etc.
* Diversity in ethnicity - People from all over the world are living in India and making it their home - From Koreans, to Americans to Brits to Germans, etc.
* Diversity in cultures - By this I mean a variety of Indian cultures itself and cultures from all over the globe
* Diversity in work timings and styles - From those who work at home, to those who work in the day to those who work at night, etc.

In this blog, I will list my view on What every Housing Society in India should have? keeping in mind this diversity and changes at the sociol, economic and demographic level....
* Place to buy every day Groceries - Fruits + Vegetables + Provisions
* Access to quality Medical Aid / Care - especially in case of a medical emergency. This could be as basic as a qualified medical practitioner visiting the housing society periodically and providing his / her contact number for an emergency OR identification of a medical practitioner within the housing society who can be contacted in case of a medical emergency. Another important necessity is the access to pediatric medical care
* Place to Exercise - This can include a place to walk and basic gym infrastructure
* Place to teach and practice Yoga & Meditation
* 24 X 7 Maintenance and Support Services - Plumber, Electrician, Carpentar on call
* A play area for children
* An ATM - to withdraw cash
* A Stationary Shop - Especially since there is a perennial requirement for school related items (and usually it is a last minute purchase)
* A cobbler - for repairning shoes
* A tailor
* A dhobi / laundry - To wash / iron clothes
* A Place of worship
* An Eating Joint - To snack at and to have a decent meal like lunch or dinner
* A Parlor / Hari Salon
* A Community Center - for people to meet interact and socialize. This could also be a place to play every day group games - board games like carrom, chess, etc.
* Periodic Cultural Activities - to know each other, build and strengthen relationships. Specific competitions / events can be scheduled to encourage interactions among residents of the housing society
* Festival Celebrations - to know, learn and understand about Indian traditions and the traditional Indian way of doing things.
* Special Interest Groups - Based on Age, Occupation, Hobbies / Interests, etc. which meet and interact on a periodic basis. For e.g.: A music lovers group, A photography group, A cycling group, A walking group, An art group, etc etc
* An annual dinner / networking get-to-together to all residents
* A responsible motivated and well-meaning RWA (Resident Welfare Association) who works in the interest of the residents in the housing society. The RWA should formalize and mandate periodic discussions among residents to get feedback and suggestions for continuous improvements.

What's your view? Leave a comment to let me know

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