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Playground@Landscape

YOUR FORUM FOR PLAY, SPORTS UND LEISURE AREAS

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First review then plan – Decision-making on the basis of concept studies

By Ulf Elsner, Pätzold + Snowadsky Planning Consultancy

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© Planungsbüro Pätzold + Snowadsky

Should a sport facility be moved to a new site or should the facility be retained as is and upgraded? This is a question faced by many local authorities when it comes to their responsibilities with regard to the provision of public sports installations. In view of the outdated nature of its relevant infrastructure, the authority of the town of Plankstadt in Baden-Würtemberg found itself confronted by this complex issue. So that it could make an appropriate decision on a sound basis, it contacted the Pätzold + Snowadsky Planning Consultancy for advice. We were asked to draw up concepts for several alternative sites for the facility in question. 

Various criteria needed to be taken into account. Reference figures were used to calculate the space that would be required. The proposed sites needed to be big enough to accommodate 100 car parking spaces, a two playing pitch hall, a technical installation building, a type C athletics track and field area with playing field and a maximum of two further playing fields of differing sizes. Also of relevance was the factor of whether the playing fields could be optimally orientated on a north-south axis and whether the site offered the possibility of extending the facility. We considered the potential sites with regard to transport connections, links to utilities and any possibly disruptive aspects, such as excessive glare. Potential noise generation was assessed in the case of sites located in the vicinity or directly next to housing. For this purpose, we consulted ITAB GmbH, specialists in the fields of structure-related acoustics and physics. Calculated were potential noise production and the noise abatement measures that would be required if the site was selected.

On the basis of all these factors, including the ownership aspect, we then classified the sites that came into question as 'suitable' or 'unsuitable'. As a result of our discussions with the local authority, one particular site emerged as the favourite as an alternative location for the facility. Next, we looked at whether the move to the new site actually offered advantages over retaining the facility on its existing site. After a consideration of the pros and cons of both sites, it was decided that the existing situation was preferable. Upgrading would be more affordable than the construction of a new facility, together with technical installation buildings and additional infrastructure. It was the location of the existing site near the centre of Plankstadt and thus the short transport routes that tipped the scales - particularly in view of the need to reduce the use of cars for private transport. The German noise emission reduction regulations as updated in 2017 also meant that additional noise abatement measures here would be unnecessary.

Following the concept review, work on modernising the sport facility on the Jahnstrasse commenced. In accordance with the plans, the site was divided into two sections for renovation and appropriately upgraded. In particular need of refurbishment were the artificial turf playing field and the type C athletics track and field area with natural grass pitch. The former was given a new artificial turf surface. Thanks to the upgrading of the latter, the conditions for football and light athletics have now been improved. Also renewed were the drainage system of the playing field, the site lighting and the artificial surfacing of the track, which is now on a new asphalt layer. Added to the existing pole vault and long jump structures were areas for shot put and high jump. The southern semicircle now accommodates a football tennis field. 

A separate area has been created to the south of the second natural grass pitch that now has a discus and hammer throw section. This is open to all local residents and, in addition to a mini football pitch, offers various outdoor fitness equipment, including a slackline, a pull up/push up device and a ski stepper. 

In a second phase, the two pitch hall and technical installation building are to be renovated and updated. The projected overall cost of all measures is in the region of €8 million; nearly €2 million has already been spent on the first refurbishment stages. But in view of the costs that would be associated with the construction of a completely new facility on another site, this represents a worthwhile investment in the future of sport and exercise in Plankstadt. It also means that sports clubs and schools can continue to enjoy active recreation on the site that is familiar to them - and is only a stone's throw away.

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