UD3: Where Do the Children Play?

The 2018 International Urban Design Conference will be held at the SMC Conference and Function Centre, Sydney, NSW over 12 – 13 November.

The conference will showcase innovations in projects and research embracing and creating transformational change in urban environments.

Joining us at the conference is Miss Natalia Krysiak, Architect with Hayball Architects who will present on ‘UD3: Where Do the Children Play?’

Miss Natalia Krysiak


Design Child-Friendly Communities

The debate surrounding the densification of our cities exists in a context of increasing pressures on population growth, housing affordability and a growing recognition of the need to reduce carbon emissions. With Australian cities now moving towards a more compact planning approach, the question this presentation will address – where do the children play? – is one which is significantly neglected in the urban design realm.

High density housing is currently promoted by both developers and city planners as the ultimate dwelling for urban singles and older ’empty nesters’ resulting in both a direct and perceived exclusion of families with children. With the exclusion of children from the compact urban fabric, comes a negligence towards the provision of safe travel paths, neighbourhood play strategies and appropriate apartment designs for families with children. The presentation will address the topic in three ways:
1. Identify the context surrounding the exclusion of children from cities and the increasing number of ‘vertical families’
2. Explore how city design can improve the health and wellbeing of children
3. Highlight the current thinking and child-friendly initiatives around the world

With an increasing body of research linking children’s play and independence in creating more resilient and healthier communities, the topic has paramount importance for designers and planners of our cities.


A practicing architect in Hayball’s Sydney studio, Natalia has been involved in advocating for child-friendly cities since graduating from Monash University in Melbourne, engaging in a range of place-making initiatives around the world. In 2017 Natalia was awarded the David Lindner Research Prize by the NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects. Her winning proposal investigates the potential for high-density areas to provide environments for increased play and independent mobility of children.

She has presented her research at a range of conferences and events including Urbanity 2017 in Brisbane, the 2017 Next City Conference in Newcastle and the 2018 Sydney Design Festival. Based on the David Lindner Research prize, Natalia has founded ‘Cities for Play’ which aims to inspire and promote strategies for playful and child-friendly built environments.

For more information on the 2018 International Urban Design Conference visit the conference website at urbandesignaustralia.com.au




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