DTP landscape architects have transformed common spaces in the small community of Schermbeck so that they can again be used for play. But the outcome is not merely a leisure or amusement park - quite the opposite. At first sight, the changes resulting from the introduction...
Individual playground design in Görlitz
By graduated engineer Christian Freudrich (University of Applied Sciences), Landscape Management - City Administration of Görlitz)
In the city of Görlitz, the development of individual game offerings is closely linked to the development of public green spaces and parks. At the beginning of the industrialisation, the city developed into an impressive park town, which also resulted in the creation of play areas for children.
Recreational areas for children were already taken into account as of 1829, when the design concept focused on converting the former cattle pasture into today's city park was developed. There is evidence that a "children's area", enclosed by tyres, was made available to the little ones in 1840. More than one hundred years later, a climbing combination designed and built by the former VEB (K) Stadtgrün itself was opened during the International Children's Day in 1979. In 1991, the individual creation of a play landscape, which was unique for that time and had been designed by Jürgen Bergmann's artistic wood design company, was implemented. Thanks to a fundamental renewal in 2010 its unique play combinations and climbing figures are still a highlight in the Görlitz playground landscape.
Heinrich Diekmann, Görlitz garden director in the years 1913 to 1932 wrote about a playground created in the course of the horticultural design of the Ölberggarten in 1923: "The playground is especially designed for small children, who without the relevant public care would easily run wild in squalid homes." At that time a see-saw, a sandbox and a shelter were provided as play equipment, which met the urgent demand according to the former understanding for open play areas amidst dense city areas and were produced individually with the formerly available means.
The present situation
Having to seek procurement of the financial means necessary for the construction and maintenance of public playgrounds in Görlitz and the lack of available space for defined offers and the uneven distribution of playgrounds within the city area represent major challenges regarding the development of a diverse playground landscape. When looking at the currently compiled needs assessment, in addition to the existing 43 playgrounds, another five to six medium-sized playgrounds are required, mainly in the old and inner city of Görlitz.
However, we find that the creation of different and often individually produced games with high play value and a high density of experiences could be an approach to at least partially counteract the existing deficits. In the case of renovation or new construction, we have to take a look at the situation-specific means to provide the children with the best possible offerings. However, important prerequisites for the creation of exciting open spaces, are and will be the participatory planning process and development of an individual task together with children and parents. Thus a varied and colourful play landscape with different materials, play themes and holistic offers should be created for the entire city area,
A participation process with children could lead to the result that the open-space planning task of playground construction is fulfilled by mainly focusing on standard equipment. Very often, however, children want imaginative and unique offers and places, which can only be implemented by designing individual playground equipment. To fulfil the children's wishes and the relevant tasks, we have decided, since several years ago, to invite to design competitions for the creation of individual play offers.
Invitation to Tender and award of a contract for the creation of individual game offers
As management office we are responsible for the development and management of the existing public playgrounds of the city of Görlitz. Particularly with regard to the construction of individual play offers, we have long been concerned with the question of how the "best" play offer for children can be determined through a tendering procedure that complies with the relevant public procurement law. It was already ten years ago, when attempts were made to determine the economic efficiency of offers submitted not exclusively based on their price but also regarding other important criteria.
As a parameter for the evaluation of economic efficiency, an upper cost limit can be set in the different types of contracts (public, restricted or negotiated) and communicated to those participating in the competition.
On the basis of the terms of reference, the bidders are invited to develop their game idea. The offer should include a maximum of game value, inclusion, game functions, experience opportunities, design, etc. The aim is to create a balance between the pre-set "outlay" (upper cost limit) and the highest possible quality of game ideas offered by the bidders.
Possibilities according to VOB/ A (Federal Award Regulations) for setting an upper cost limit and the definition of award criteria
Excerpt from the notice of award of contract and contract regulations for construction works Part A (VOB/A) . Edition 2019
After a formal examination of the tenders submitted, a jury will meet to elaborate an award recommendation based on the evaluation criteria developed for this purpose. Here in Görlitz, the jury is composed of colleagues from the administration, teachers of open child and youth work, parents, citizens' councils and city council members. The composition of the jury changes regularly depending on the projects. The works submitted are presented to the jury members in an anonymous form using the documents required in the procedure, such as design representations, sections, models, verbal descriptions, etc. Subsequently, each jury member will come to an individual assessment based on a matrix that has been developed. The individual criteria are provided with sub-criteria for better understanding and are to be evaluated with points based on the given weighting. In order to enable transparency and comprehensibility of the evaluation, verbal justifications are also explicitly desired together with the respective scoring.
The bidder who, as a result of this evaluation, best meets the award criteria and achieves the highest total score, has submitted the most economical bid for the contracting authority in this procedure and will thus be awarded the contract for the playground construction.
On the basis of the following award criteria, the most economically advantageous tender can be determined by a jury.
Table: Evaluation criteria for a jury decision on the individual playground construction in Görlitz. The criteria and their weighting are variable depending on the project.
The children will have a say
A special feature of the design competitions with jury decisions is the involvement of children who have already worked on defining the task for the playground project. Prior to the decision by the adults, the children have the opportunity to make their own evaluation. To this end, the ideas are presented to the children in a simple and understandable way. It is exciting to observe to which overall result the children come and which work receives the best scoring. The result will be communicated to the adults, but has so far not had any direct influence on the decision.
In Görlitz, the jury decisions have so far made an important contribution to the development of diverse and exciting play areas. The possibility of this form of competition also arouses great interest among the playground builders. With regard to the evaluation criteria, the question of inclusive play offers will have to be given more attention in the future , in order to successfully continue implementing good playground ideas for all.
Görlitz City Council, Department 68/ SG Road Construction and City Greenery,
Mr. Christian Freudrich, Hugo-Keller-Strasse 14 / 02826 Görlitz,