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Creating Amenities – a Model to get “Beyond the Pool”. Part 1

Several  months ago…

I was sitting in an amenity workshop. I had come to present key customer segments motivation and macro-trends as the foundation for a community amenity program. When the workshop portion began, the client leadership came back with “ok are we going to have a BIG club like so & so …OR something else?”

One of the strangest launches to an amenity program I’ve ever been subjected to.

Fast-forward to today.

Another client – we just finished up brand positioning and are beginning to ponder the experiences that will make this new place sing with a genuine soul. (Yes the Ops VP is rolling his eyes and the CFO is wanting a budget. Try to relax – we are making you $.)  Starting with understanding the land, the competition, the market positioning, and the customers – now is the time to ponder how to physically differentiate and deliver.

After 20 years of creating and marketing planned communities, the thought process continues to evolve. From “what should we build”- to-  “How do we activate such-and-such?” to  “What are the experiences our customers want to have?” and now into “How do we create the experiences that our customers may not be able to define?”  This model is for going out of the box with an eye for the future.

A mash-up of logic, 20+ years in community development, marketing and research. And hopefully a process that can help teams go beyond  ” a BIG club like so & so”.

Shall we?


There are three-sides of the discussion and in the middle are your answers.

Side 1 | What We Have.

Every community starts with a location/market, land (constraints & opportunities) and local culture(s). Texas is not Hawaii, is not Southern California, is not Central California. Keep your mind hyper-local.

Side 2 | What Humans Do.

You are probably thinking, “I’m human – I know what we do”. Yes and let’s get a bit deeper and simpler.

We need to translate what people really do – into the spaces and places that are the backdrop  promoting them to be them. Or  more to the point –  the places and spaces that frame the experiences for our customers’ happiness, well-being and growth.

Side 3 | Influential MEGA Trends.
Mega-trends – the big, slow-moving currents – that taken together form our complete picture of consumerism today and where it’s heading. –  

Learn from the past, understand what is timeless and look to the future. Mega trends point the way forward and strong communities last long into the future. Here, human needs and desires meet with large-scale shifts in the external social environment. Interpreting how Mega Trends shape a place can lead to great things.


Key Thought: The ingredients for designing amenities, in whatever form they may take, starts with The Land, Human Nature, and Societal Mega Trends that are already shaping our future.

If you start off by thinking “…now where do we put our BIG Club?” ,  alas you are probably in a bit of a pickle already.

COMING SOON: Creating Amenities Part 2 – What we have.