Are apartments becoming more child-friendly?

The ‘Great Australian Dream’ persists as a vivid image: picket fence, a couple of cars in the driveway, a Hills Hoist and plenty of room for a game of backyard cricket with the neighbours on that quarter-acre block.

That dream has changed so much, especially over this last generation.  Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows more Australians than ever are taking up apartment living. In the 2016 Census, families with children (and either one or two parents) comprised almost 44 per cent of all families living in apartments in Australia.

Urban social geographer Sophie-May Kerr’s PhD research at the University of Wollongong explores the everyday experience of families living with children in apartments in Sydney.

“My research has sought to document their experiences – understanding how people use this space, what’s important to them and what challenges they face in order to appropriately plan for future developments,” she says.

Kerr says Australian cultural norms – that kids live in houses, not apartments – has influenced the design of these spaces in the past.

“Families raising children in apartments that were not designed with their needs in mind face a number of challenges relating to inadequate sound proofing, limited storage, inflexible spatial layouts and lack of family-friendly communal spaces,” she says.

Kerr says that although housing norms are changing, apartment design and cultural norms “surrounding who is seen to belong in an apartment” are yet to catch up to this trend.

“While there are some individual developments that are starting to modify their design recognising families as part of the market, more broadly we are still seeing a saturation of small 1-2 bedroom units that are not built to accommodate the needs of growing families.”

Granville Place is one example of a new residential development designed with the needs of growing families in mind with many conveniences – a childcare and medical facility on site, along with a Woolworths supermarket and other specialty stores, plus a train station that is a one-minute walk away – not only eliminate the need for a car, but also “puts time back in people’s day”.

He says the project has been designed so that working parents will be able to grab the groceries at ground level on their way home, pick up the kids from childcare on level one, and leave them to play safely in the podium park while dinner is cooked.

It’s designed so it has that convenience and can adapt as families progress.

Residents at Granville Place will have easy access to parks and play equipment. Source: Granville Place


Posted in Latest news, News on 31st July, 2019