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Design considerations for child and family friendly apartments: Stage 2

Families in Australia are increasingly raising their children in apartments, despite these dwellings being designed and marketed for those without children. While apartment living has many benefits for families with children, design that does not consider children as residents, can be challenging for families. This report was commissioned to provide research, analysis and recommendations for how the Victorian planning system can better support child/family friendly apartment buildings.
The report is presented in four parts. The first part provides the rationale for child and family friendly housing, expanding on the work undertaken in Stage 1 of this research. The second part provides a review of some best practice examples of planning for child and family friendly apartment buildings from other Australian or international jurisdictions. This highlights processes, planning documents, design standards and guidelines which are considered leading examples. This is followed by the third part which describes the findings from some targeted industry consultation to test attitudes towards the research observations. Finally, the fourth part brings together a review of how Victoria’s current Better Apartments Design Standards and Apartment Design Guidelines perform in relation to the research findings and produces recommendations for changes to the Victoria Planning Provisions and other associated tools such as design guidance.

This report has produced recommendations for consideration in informing how the Victorian planning system and the Better Apartment Design Standards (BADS) can better support child and family friendly apartment buildings.
25 recommendations for review of the Victorian BADS are listed. These are described in detail at the end of Part 4 of the report; including examples of how international best-practice examples have addressed these requirements, and advice on implementation in the Victorian context. The recommendations are summarised below according to 13 design spheres.
The relevant sections of the Victoria Planning Provisions VPPs which could be utilized to assess an Apartment proposal are detailed at the beginning of Part 4.

History

Publisher

Deakin University

Place of publication

Geelong, Australia

Language

English

Research statement

Research background: Field: Housing Design Context: Families in Australia are increasingly raising their children in apartments, despite these being largely designed for those without children. While apartment living has many benefits for families with children, design that doesn’t consider children is challenging for families. Aim: This research was commissioned to inform The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning how the Victorian planning system can better support child/family friendly apartment design. Research contribution: Innovation: indirect participatory design research was developed because apartment end users are not known at the design stage. Here, researchers acted as intermediates of end users, helping architects reconcile design guidelines with the needs of families with children. New Knowledge: the research provides: 1) design rationale for family friendly housing; 2) review of best practice family friendly apartment design from Australian and international jurisdictions (highlighting processes, planning documents, design standards and guidelines); 3) findings on architects attitudes towards feedback provided via previous research with families; 4) evaluation of Victoria’s current Better Apartments Design Standards and Guidelines; and 5) 25 recommendations (across 13 design spheres) for changes to the Victoria Planning Provisions and other associated tools (including examples of how international best-practice examples have addressed these requirements, and advice on implementation in the Victorian context). Research significance: Evidence of excellence: findings have been published in the peer reviewed journal Asian Architecture. Findings also informed the brief for a competition, open to Victorian architects, to create family friendly plans and designs for apartment buildings – the Victorian Government Future HOMES project. The researchers advised the competition winners how to improve designs prior to their construction

Publication classification

A6 Research report/technical paper

Scale

NTRO Major

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