Making high-rise apartment living child-friendly
Most families are living in apartments that were never designed for them; how did this happen and what can we do about it?
The majority of Victoria’s apartments have been designed for investors - prioritising profit over liveability. But recent increases in apartment family living have led to a rising number of children at risk of developmental delays/challenges. And because young children and toddlers spend much more time at home, the issues associated with living in buildings not designed for them are far greater.
Ignite was recently engaged by Committee for Melbourne’s Future Focus Group to provide child friendly apartment design interventions for a pilot site in Docklands. In addition to adopting a first-principles approach, the team undertook a rigorous codesign process aimed at overcoming conventional challenges to market-wide adoption - predominantly financial, market, planning and delivery constraints.
An iterative co-design approach allowed the team to design interventions which addressed occupants’ livability and affordability concerns while not penalising the developer, builder or architect. The recommendations looked at all liveable aspects of the apartment, from the unit to shared spaces and building entries.
When the guidelines were applied to a pilot site in Docklands, construction costs per unit increased by only 2% - an amount offset by the 5% premium which occupants were willing to pay for these improvements. With sales/rental prices greatly linked to apartment sizes, the team mostly focused on redesigning common apartment features to work more effectively.