As urban areas continue to grow and housing costs rise, many families find themselves residing in apartments. While apartments offer various benefits, they come with unique challenges for families. The shared spaces, lack of backyards, and often crowded living conditions can make apartment living less family-friendly. However, with thoughtful planning and engagement with the body corporate, families can transform their living spaces into safe and comfortable environments for all members. In this article, we will explore the challenges families face in apartments and discuss strategies to make apartments and body corporates more family-friendly.
Challenges of Apartment Living for Families
- Limited Space: One of the most significant challenges families in apartments face is limited living space. Families often struggle to accommodate their children’s growing needs, from play areas to study spaces.
- Noise and Privacy: Noise can be a major concern in apartment buildings, as sounds travel easily between units. This can lead to disruptions, making it difficult for families to maintain a peaceful and quiet environment. Additionally, privacy can be compromised, causing discomfort for residents.
- Lack of Outdoor Space: Most apartments lack private yards or outdoor play areas, which can limit children’s opportunities for physical activity and outdoor play.
- Safety Concerns: Apartments may present safety hazards for families, such as balconies, open stairwells, pools, gyms, carparks and potentially inadequate security measures.
How to Make Your Apartment Family-Friendly
- Space Optimisation:
– Invest in space-saving furniture like bunk beds, foldable tables, and wall-mounted storage solutions to maximise your living area.
– Create designated play and study areas for children within the apartment.
– Utilise vertical spaces, such as wall-mounted shelves, for organizing toys, books, and other items.
- Noise Reduction:
– Use rugs and curtains to help dampen sound within your apartment.
– Establish noise-free zones and timeframes to ensure quieter periods when needed.
– Communicate with neighbours about your family’s schedule to minimise disruptions.
- Building a Sense of Community:
– Organise family-friendly events and activities within the apartment complex, such as movie nights, game nights, or community gardens.
– Encourage socialisation among residents, fostering a supportive and friendly atmosphere.
- Outdoor Spaces:
– Explore nearby parks, playgrounds, and recreational areas to provide your children with outdoor opportunities.
– Work with the body corporate to create shared outdoor spaces, like a rooftop garden or courtyard, that are safe and enjoyable for families.
- Safety Measures:
– Install childproofing devices and secure balconies to keep your children safe.
– Advocate for improved building security measures, like gated entries and surveillance cameras, in collaboration with the body corporate.
– Ensure amenities like Pools and Gyms are secure from access to children and are in compliance with safety legislation.
– Consider promoting the use of window coverings, creating outdoor gathering areas with sufficient separation, and installing soundproofing materials between units to enhance privacy.
- Supervision of Children:
– Ensure children are adequately supervised when using and playing on common property (especially pools). It is common for a scheme’s by-laws to include this as a condition for children’s use of recreational areas.
Engaging with the Body Corporate
Families living in apartments can enhance their family-friendly experience by actively engaging with the body corporate, the governing body responsible for managing the building. Here are some steps families can take:
- Attend Meetings: Participate in body corporate meetings to voice your concerns and ideas related to family-friendly improvements.
- Form a Family Committee: Collaborate with other families to establish a committee that can communicate and negotiate with the body corporate regarding family-focused initiatives.
- Suggest Family Amenities: Propose the addition of family-friendly amenities like a playroom, family lounges, or secure storage areas for strollers and bicycles.
- Advocate for Policies: Work with the body corporate to implement policies that promote a family-friendly environment, such as quiet hours and safety guidelines
While apartment living presents its own set of challenges for families, proactive efforts can help create a family-friendly environment that caters to the needs of both children and adults. Creating a family-friendly apartment community in Queensland requires a multifaceted approach that addresses the challenges faced by families, while also taking into consideration the broader concerns of the body corporate. By implementing the strategies discussed, apartment communities can cultivate a sense of togetherness and harmony, making them attractive and inviting places for families to call home.