For strata living to be successful, it requires cooperation. This is for two fundamental reasons. First, people who live in strata properties usually live in closer proximity to each other, and share facilities and common areas. Second, people who own strata properties own a joint share in the buildings and grounds and therefore joint responsibility for deciding how to manage those facilities, as well as paying for their upkeep. Often people from different backgrounds find themselves living in strata schemes and cooperating with people who have different priorities and expectations to them. This can make communication between residents and between owners challenging. In the Australian context, the diverse cultural backgrounds from which strata owners and tenants come can make this situation even more complex. Norms regarding appropriate forms of participation in joint decision-making can vary greatly between people with different backgrounds, as can ideas about the meaning of home ownership and the rights and expectations that come along with it. This complicated context can make it difficult to know how to best encourage people to participate in the running of their strata scheme. The research explored the potential influence of cultural background on participation in strata schemes. It considered both participation in the everyday life of strata residents and participation in the decision-making processes in a strata scheme. The information collected can be used to inform the development of tools and strategies to encourage community cohesion, connectedness and resilience in strata communities.
The aims of this study were to:
1. Determine whether the executive committees of strata buildings managed by a sample of strata managers are representative of all of the owners in buildings and if they are not, to explore the reasons why.
2. Identify tensions that can arise in strata communities between people from different cultural backgrounds from the perspective of strata managers and executive committee (EC) members, and explore the reasons for any tensions identified.
3. Document strategies that have been successfully used by strata managers and executive committees to resolve tensions or increase formal or informal participation by owners and tenants in strata schemes.
4. Provide resources that can be used in the education and training of executive committee members and strata managers to encourage community cohesion, connectedness and resilience in strata communities.
In doing so, the research will consider the role of cultural understandings of multi-unit living and neighbour relations, cultural understandings about multi-unit ownership and participation in decision-making and language and communication barriers.
The study involved:
1. A desk-based review of literature on cohesion and resilience in multicultural strata communities and international best practice approaches for managing cultural diversity in multi-owned properties.
2. Interviews with strata managers who manage portfolios of strata properties in Greater Metropolitan Sydney.
3. Interviews with executive committee members of schemes in Greater Metropolitan Sydney.
4. Preparation of resources for incorporation into SCA(NSW)'s education and training programs.
Strata Managers on Managing Diversity
This research is supported by Strata Community Australia (NSW).