wed 26 MAY 2021


Designing Family-Friendly Compact Neighbourhoods


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. The COVID-19 pandemic has also been a catalyst for rethinking how our cities can become more liveable and resilient into the future – particularly for those who balance family life with new working arrangements.


A critical part of this discussion will be understanding how we replicate the Australian Dream of a suburban home while also creating neighbourhoods which are sustainable, compact, vibrant and walkable.


The presenter will highlight international best practice for designing family-friendly, compact neighbourhoods including urban design guidelines, planning policy and built interventions which global cities are adopting to improve liveability for urban children and their families. Based on her Churchill Fellowship research, the presenter will put forward several built case studies and planning policies for consideration in an Australian context.


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

Natalia Krysiak

Hayball Architects /
Cities for Play

A practising architect in Sydney, Natalia Krysiak specialises in the design of child-oriented environments. Her area of research focuses on child-friendly cities and how the built environment can contribute to the health and wellbeing of children. In 2019 Natalia was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to explore best practice for designing child-friendly, high density neighbourhoods. Her research investigates design guidelines, policies and built interventions implemented in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Canada and the UK which focus on neighbourhood liveability for children and parents. Previously, Natalia was awarded the 2017 David Lindner Research Prize by the NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects. Her winning proposal explored the potential for high-density areas to provide environments for increased play and active mobility of children. Based on her research surrounding child-friendly cities, Natalia founded ‘Cities for Play’ which aims to inspire and promote strategies for playful cities. Natalia has been an invited speaker to various national and international conferences including the following: -2019 Public Space Design Forum (Sydney, Australia) -2019 Child in the City conference (Antwerp, Belgium) -2019 Spaces to Play Design Forum (London, UK) -2019 University of Hong Kong, Designing Child-Friendly Cities Forum (Hong Kong) -2018 International Urban Design Conference (Sydney, Australia), -2018 UN Sustainable Development Conference (Singapore) -2018 Salzburg Global Forum on Healthy Childhoods (Salzburg, Austria) -2018 Sydney Design Festival (Sydney, Australia) She has also published articles in numerous publications including the Planning Institute of Australia, The Architecture Bulletin, Landscape Australia, The Urban Developer and Parlour, promoting the need to address children’s health and wellbeing in the planning and design of our cities.