Veterans of this website know that a beta community is a group of future tenants/patrons formally co-designing a cool place with a partnered developer. However, there are many definitions of what a ‘place’ is, so here are the four types places and their associated beta communities:
1. VIBE Beta Communities – For third places, establishing a community of patrons to co-design and co-invest (via sweat equity) in those businesses. Click here for a current example in Washington DC.
2. Building Beta Communities – For ‘cool’ buildings, establishing a community of tenants and patrons to co-design and even co-invest in the development of a single building. One current project is based in New York to transform a 55,000 s.f. warehouse into an artist/musician live/work community. This could involve VIBE Beta Communities.
3. Block Beta Communities – for large-scale developments of several buildings or public spaces, establishing a community of developers to co-develop a site under a common vision. Boulder Housing Partners coordinated multiple developers to complete a new neighborhood (Holiday) under a unifying master plan. This could involve both VIBE and Building Beta Communities.
4. District Beta Communities – typically for neighborhood retail/entertainment districts, establishing a community of VIBEs to develop their businesses as a group under a common development and vision. This involves the expertise of individuals like Kennedy Smith, who worked for and ran the National Main Street Center for a total of 20 years. This could involve all four Beta Community types.
Image source: Hamar