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Feb. 13, 2013

How Socially Responsible Are Your Apartment Communities?

Diana Mosher, Editorial Director MHN

Afghanistan is frequently in the headlines, but many Americans know very little about this distant and mysterious land. Connie Duckworth wants to change all that—and she also wants the decision makers in the apartment industry to know that a hand-woven rug from Afghanistan would be a perfect conversation piece in their multifamily properties.

Especially in those markets with a socially responsible renter demographic. And also because now there’s a new collection designed by six iconic architects: Frank Gehry, Michael Graves, Zaha Hadid, Margaret McCurry, Robert A.M. Stern and Stanley Tigerman. The Masters Collection is the result of a new collaboration between ARZU Studio Hope and Coalesse, a design-savvy furniture manufacturer owned by Steelcase. The new products are available through Coalesse.

Duckworth founded her non-profit Arzu Studio Hope because she wanted to make a meaningful and lasting contribution to the women of Afghanistan. The aptly named rug manufacturer (“Arzu” means “aspirational hope” in the Afghan language Dari) employs and educates Afghan women while preserving traditional weaving techniques.

The market for socially responsible products has been growing steadily in recent years. Can you pinpoint which markets and properties in your multifamily portfolio have the strongest concentration of socially responsible residents? (Hint: they probably like to shop at places like Whole Foods and The Body Shop… commute by bicycle… and have been wishing they could do some urban vegetable farming on the premises…)

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