Healthy Spaces & Places Healthy Spaces & Places

Case Studies

Child Friendly by Design (CFbD) Project

Town/Region | Shellharbour
State | NSW
Context | All public open spaces
Target Group | All, children, youth, elderly, city workers, new home owners
Timing | Funding through FaHCSIA Family Support Program. Current agreement to finish June 30 2011 with future funding to June 2014 to be confirmed
Weblink | Click here to view the website.
Key Principles
  • People engaging in regular physical activity
  • Built environments influencing active living
  • Sense of belonging
  • Sense of place
  • Postive health impacts

Child Friendly by Design

Friendly by Design (CFbD) Project started in 2007, conducted by Healthy Cities Illawarra (HCI), in conjunction with Griffith University’s Urban Research Program (URP) . Funding came from  the Communities for Children Shellharbour Strategy, through the Australian Government’s Families and Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) Department.

Based partially on UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities strategies, the CFbD Project has involved children, young people and families in the design and redesign of public open spaces in Shellharbour, a fast developing city in the Illawarra region of NSW.


  • Development of child-friendly Concept Plans for an urban brownfield site and greenfield site in Shellharbour.
  • Involvement of children, young people, community members, Council, Australand (greenfield developer), planners and designers at all stages of consultation, planning and design phases.
  • Development and publication of the CFbD Resource Toolkit and the CFbD Workshop series to support the Toolkit’s implementation with key stakeholders in Shellharbour, NSW and interstate.
  • Established relationships and support from the NSW Commission for Children and Young People – in particular, their support of the CFbD Resource Toolkit’s publication and implementation.
  • Participative planning strategies to give children and young people a ‘voice’ on what is important about the places and spaces that surround them.
  • Resources and tools for designers, planners, developers, community agencies and Councils on strategies to actively involve children and young people in the creation of child-friendly places.
  • Kids are the expert on Kids – not adults!
  • Development of a checklist of what makes a child-friendly place.
  • Involving all levels and agencies in the community and local government sector is essential to ensure sustainability and transference of child-friendly work practices.
  • How child-friendly practices and places fit into local government integrated planning structures.
  • Creation of tools and resources to allow direct and ongoing involvement of children and young people, alongside designers and planners, in the design and planning of public open spaces.
  • Great need for dissemination of strategies that turn the theory of child-friendly places into practice and policy.
  • Importance of basing the project on critical and contemporary evidence-based research drawn from many disciplines.
  • CFbD Resource Toolkit available only through CFbD Workshops to ensure good transference of theory into practice.
  • Time-intensive nature of working proactively with a range of children and young people.
  • Geographical constraints associated with the funding source – the CFbD Project would be highly relevant to other localities with ability for replication across the nation.
  • CFbD Resource Toolkit provides the who, what, where, how and why of the CFbD Project and assists with making child-friendly places a reality.
  • Clear demonstration of successful strategies that work with children and young people in the design and creation of child-friendly places.
  • Awareness raising and ratification of the fundamental importance of the link between built and natural environments and children and young people’s development and wellbeing.
Child Friendly by Design
Child Friendly by Design 


Child Friendly by Design Resource Toolkit – information at or email to


Information and details on the CFbD Project, the Resource Toolkit and upcoming CFbD Workshops can be accessed via the Healthy Cities Illawarra website – under Healthy Urban Design; or email to

Last updated on 4th April, 2011

Sponsors This project was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.