This paper outlines the role of urban design in the relationship between public space and families with children. The quality of outside play in urban and suburban spaces is crucial for the physical, social and cognitive development of young children. By analysing three important daily living domains – street, green spaces and play spaces – through observations, surveys, workshops and interviews in the city of Eindhoven, The Netherlands, the paper discusses the increasing need for family- and child-directed consumption spaces in city areas. The data also reflect that though there are processes in place that are progressively contributing towards the inclusion of changing urban lifestyles, concerns on importance of outside play, public green spaces, and safety remain high. It is argued that the role of design along with child-friendly indicators and locally important factors need to be better strengthened when planning future family-friendly city spaces. Initiatives such as co-creative design of public space with children and parents, bottom-up neighbourhood design initiatives (e.g. child friendly routes) are some examples. This paper points out the wider significance of spatial transformation of the city’s needs to accommodate various demographics and requirements.