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Playground@Landscape

YOUR FORUM FOR PLAY, SPORTS UND LEISURE AREAS

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03.12.2020 - Ausgabe: 6/2020

Identification with the district and neighbourhood

By Petra Löhr (company spokesperson gewobau Rüsselsheim)

Photo
© gewobau Rüsselsheim

gewobau Rüsselsheim maintains over 90 playgrounds and mini playgrounds by its housing complexes. In addition to regular upkeep and maintenance, redesigning playgrounds is also part of the housing association's annual programme. The company has invested between €100,000 and €150,000 in each of the last two years in the redesign of its playgrounds. On top of this are investments in the installation of playgrounds for new buildings.

And this doesn't just mean play equipment and sand pits. "Our aim is to make visiting our playgrounds a pleasant experience for all tenants," explains chief executive Torsten Regenstein. So the responsible technical service department attaches great importance to a harmonious appearance which is in keeping with the local residential development. The creative process of playground planning and design is also influenced by suggestions from regular customer surveys. Here the housing association again focuses above all on the needs of customers and users in addition to satisfying building law requirements. The aim is to design outdoor areas in such a way that the users identify and can develop a connection with the residential environment and with the community and neighbourhood. 

The designs of the outdoor areas and playgrounds in Brandenburger Straße, on Böllenseeplatz and in Horlache Park in particular also illustrate the housing association's exterior design philosophy.

Here modern play equipment and nature-inspired play landscapes have been installed and pleasant spaces for tenants and visitors created.

In this regard the character of most housing association playgrounds is not purely private but in fact semi-public. The aim is for the public landscape design that the management in essence desires to facilitate a pleasant visit and encourage children and parents from nearby and further afield to meet. 

 

Examples: Circular path to the playground in Brandenburger Straße 6-10

The outdoor area between the Brandenburger Straße 6-10 and Hessenring 11-19 residential complexes, with a total of 60 apartments housing many families, catches the eye the moment one enters. A circular gravel path leads to a new playground and further seating. A variety of types of paving on the circular path and new, small embankments alongside planted with blooming shrubs round off the attractive overall impression. In the future they will offer a pleasant screen for the benches "because everyone likes a little back protection on the bench," says Torsten Regenstein. "For large newbuild outdoor facilities we also used the services of external planners and architects, while for medium-sized and small projects our own specialists do the planning," Regenstein emphasises. These plans also factor in the future management of these facilities at a reasonable cost.  

 

Nature-inspired playground with play arena in Horlache Park

The large play facility by the five residential buildings with 76 flats that comprise the Horlache Park complex with four completely different play and leisure areas catches the eye with its natural materials. Attractions include the natural stone arena, wooden balance equipment and brightly-painted steel piping and ropes. Children, young people and families can sit on large wooden swings, put their balance to the test on plate swings and slide and play to their heart's content. Bark mulch and gravel have been laid in all areas, which have a rich variety of vegetation and are well protected from traffic at the rear of the extensive residential complex. The play facility is also used by toddlers from the nearby municipal day nursery.

 

Centrally located – playgrounds in the city districts

The climbing and slide structure is always the focal point. In the An der Fuchstanne central building playgrounds in Fürther Straße in the district of Königstädten, for example, the bright climbing structure in natural wood is visible to children from afar. This site is also equipped with natural materials around the play area. At Böllenseeplatz 10-12 and in the family residential complex at Brandenburger Straße 27 the large climbing and slide structures are also central points of contact for children and families. All the playgrounds also feature appropriate seating and shrubs and woody plants.  

Playgrounds by residential buildings must fulfil various functions. "They should be easily accessible and offer good visibility for parents and carers," says Jochen Meißner, one of three site supervisors for gewobau Rüsselsheim's outdoor facilities area. But when they are too close to a building, loud playing creates a disturbance. Which some residents can find annoying in the middle of the day in particular. "We therefore take great care in choosing suitable sites for play structures and to create protective areas for all needs with appropriate plantings," explains Meißner's colleague Hartmut Hebling.

"But children also need the freedom to play and the opportunity to discover things for themselves," explains Hebling. Accordingly, in addition to wooden animals and spring rockers, the play facility behind the residential buildings at Böllenseeplatz 6-8 offers trees, shrubs and herbs and an abundance of natural materials and a great view of the tenant gardens of the neighbours.

 

Traffic safety and maintenance

"The housing association works in close partnership with the local authority on the residential environment and playgrounds," emphasises chief executive Torsten Regenstein. 

In conjunction with the municipal council of Rüsselsheim am Main the company has assumed responsibility for the design and upkeep of several public neighbourhood playgrounds. As a result, the popular playground at the corner of Im Hasengrund and Schreberstraße has been completely redesigned by a specialist planner. The housing association's technical construction department implemented the plans and the site supervisors of the outdoor facilities area of the technical service department are responsible for upkeep and maintenance. 

Therefore the housing association assumes social responsibility by maintaining several popular neighbourhood play facilities in addition to its own properties: for example, the extremely cost-intensive maintenance of a ropeway.

Under the guiding principle: retain the proven and design anew. With a view to achieving a high rate of use, good functionality and a networking of various offerings across the municipal landscape rather than removal for cost reasons.

At a time when public funds are scarce, by creating its own large-scale playgrounds and assuming responsibility for the upkeep of popular public neighbourhood play areas the housing association is guaranteeing the play tradition in the neighbourhoods and creating a unique quality in the urban environment.

And the consistently strong footfall shows that this commitment is paying off. Playground safety is also of paramount importance to parents and relations. To this end, the housing association also has a safety specialist, with responsibility for around 90 playgrounds in total. He visits all outdoor facilities and also the playgrounds at regular intervals and checks various aspects of the play equipment such as stability and attachment materials and for damage and vandalism. The housing association's technical customer service representatives for the six residential districts with over 6,400 apartments also check that everything is in order on their daily rounds and report any issues directly to its repair reception centre. In addition, an extensive inspection of all of gewobau Rüsselsheim's playgrounds is carried out annually by an external partner.

"Between €90,000 and €100,000 is earmarked annually for maintenance work on the housing association's playgrounds," explains department head Wolfgang Leitzbach. 

 

 

 

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