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19.04.2022 - Ausgabe: 2/2022

"Green Belt" in the Oststadt (eastern part) of Hildesheim

By Daniela True (HNW Landschaftsarchitektur Homeister Neumann von Weymarn PartGmbB)

© Chris Gossmann

For many years, the city of Hildesheim has received subsidies from the federal government and the state through the urban development funding programme, thus contributing significantly to the implementation of urban development objectives. It was possible to achieve this positive development in the existing neighbourhoods and districts through integrated planning approaches, urban development funding and dialogue with citizens and local stakeholders. 

The inclusion of the 52-hectare Oststadt urban renewal area in the federal-state programme "Stadtumbau" (urban redevelopment) in 2008 marked the start of the extensive renewal and adaptation of the Gründerzeit quarter in the east of the city centre to meet today's standards of living. Taking a holistic approach, this project aims to enhance the Oststadt (eastern part of the city) as a residential and service location and to improve the compatibility of different uses. The objective is to achieve a comprehensive renewal and adaptation of the neighbourhood to today's requirements in terms of living and housing. 

Against this background, the urban planning concept of a “Green Belt” was implemented between 2013 and 2019, which connects Hildesheim's city centre with the new Ostend district as a continuous, barrier-free green wedge and consists of the three sub-areas of the Steingrube park, the Scharnhorsthof multiple-use area and the "Kleine Steingrube" town square. The individual measures complement each other perfectly and their mutual synergy considerably enhances the quality of life in the Oststadt. 

The central construction work to create the "Green Belt" was completed in summer 2019. In the process, a total of 35,000 m² of park and square facilities were redesigned, with construction costs totalling EUR 5.3 million. The comprehensive redevelopment and redesign of the open spaces was complemented by the reconstruction of the surrounding streets. An intensively planted traffic island between the park on the one hand and the Scharnhorsthof and the "Kleine Steingrube" square on the other has calmed the traffic and brings the overarching park character of the urban space to the fore.


Steingrube Park – Redevelopment of an urban park from the 1960s 

The Steingrube park is the central and only large-scale sports, recreation and open space in Hildesheim's Oststadt. Looking beyond the neighbourhood, it is also of major importance as an urban park for the city as a whole. The Steingrube is an integral part of the "Green Belt" and has been transformed into a family park that can be used by all generations, while retaining its basic character. 

The basic structure of the park with its spacious lawns, landscaped paths and mature trees was preserved during the redesign. The central lawn, which can be used in a variety of ways, with a lime grove in the east is still defining the character of the park and has not been put to any new uses. Drought-tolerant woody plants adapted to climate change complement the existing tree population and enhance the cooling effect of the park in the densely developed district. A circumferential park promenade and attractive coloured asphalt surfaces open up the space and link the green space with the surrounding urban space. In addition to the wide range of play opportunities and sport activities, there are also a number of varied and intensively used places to sit and linger. 


Play and sports park for everyone  

The play and recreation area in the northern part of the park was the first section to be completed in 2015. A wooden pirate ship in the large sand play area attracts families with young children in particular. The anchored ship is complemented by balance equipment, hammocks, sand play facilities, and play huts as well as a play mound with a slide. There are also boulders and sandstone blocks next to the benches along the path, which are ideal for sitting on and are natural play elements for balancing and climbing. 

On the opposite side, the asphalt running track with a pump track and a parkour facility are particularly popular with young people. Requests expressed by children and young people in a previous participatory process were taken into consideration and incorporated here. What is particularly positive about how different age groups share and use these areas is the fact that they play together harmoniously and peacefully. Showing consideration for less experienced riders and climbers has become an inherent part of the culture of usage here. 

Junior traffic training centre – an anachronism? Analogous to the northern part, the southern Steingrube with a junior traffic training centre and a basketball court was completed in early summer 2019. The approximately 5,000 m² junior traffic training centre was originally built in the 1960s and, after its renovation, was given current relevance as a site for sustainable mobility training. The sculptural, colourfully designed fence highlights its status as a special feature of the park and unique to Hildesheim. Several gates helped to offset the barrier effect created by dense vegetation, and the junior traffic training centre was opened up to the park, with the facility becoming the landmark of the park.

The “exercise garden”, as it is called, is another component of the play and sports facilities and is located on the south-eastern edge of the park. A large lawn with attachment posts for slacklines forms a "buffer zone" to the junior traffic training centre; the exercise garden itself is enclosed by hedge elements. Here, away from the vigorous intensity exercise areas, there is a sheltered space next to a new boules court with various outdoor fitness equipment for all ages. 


Scharnhorsthof – use of the school playground as a multiple-use area 

The play and recreation area at Steingrube park has been very well received since its opening and is heavily frequented, especially at weekends. The multiple-use area at the neighbouring Scharnhorstgymnasium grammar school therefore plays an important role extending the park and reducing visitor impacts on it. 

In the course of the redevelopment of the Oststadt, the city council had the school playground converted into a multiple-use area that can be used by the public. The school playground thus turned into a meeting place for pupils from the all-day school and the neighbourhood; being able to use the playground in the afternoons helped to forge a strong bond between the pupils and the place. The quality of school life as a whole has been enhanced and the children and young people feel at home in what they call "their place of life". 

The new multiple-use area was divided into different play and exercise areas providing opportunities to engage in motor activities and vigorous intensity physical activity. A large climbing structure challenges you to test your dexterity, while on the streetball court you can compete with the opposing team. A bouldering wall, fitness elements and a multi-piece trampoline facility challenge and encourage various types of physical activity and restore the pupils' ability to concentrate for the following classes through "active recovery". 

In addition to the activity-packed areas, there are quiet zones with wooden decks, cube seats and a grandstand made of sandstone blocks inviting people to chill out together, sit together or simply watch the action. A group of widely spaced trees provides shade as well as structures and enlivens the space. The central recreational area with its cafeteria opens onto a small courtyard with table and bench combos, which has become a popular meeting place for people to eat and relax in good weather. 

The "neighbourhood garden" provides a variety of hands-on opportunities for pupils to learn and experience how varied gardening can be throughout the year. Here, schoolchildren and gardening enthusiasts from the neighbourhood garden together. 


“Kleine Steingrube" town square - new creation of a neighbourhood square 

The municipal institution "19A - Das Gemeinschaftshaus" and the Scharnhorstgymnasium share a common forecourt with an adjoining car park. Against the background of the citizens’ wish for a café in the neighbouring park, it was possible to establish a new restaurant with afternoon café service in the community centre. After the fundamental redevelopment of the areas, an attractive town square was created, which is used for outdoor catering in the summer and is a new flagship for the school. In addition, it has been possible to design the areas as part of the Steingrube park and to bring them spatially closer to the Steingrube. 

Car parking is now only available on the southern edge of the square, separated by amorphous patches of trees. The main area was designed as a car-free recreation and activity zone for pedestrians and cyclists. An approximately 80-metre-long sitting wall, flanked by bands of grass, leads across the square and provides lounging areas in the entrance areas of the school and the community centre. In the evening and in the winter time, the lighting with special light effects lends the square a special atmosphere.


Further information:

HNW Landschaftsarchitektur

Homeister Neumann von Weymarn PartGmbB

Schützenallee 41 b

31134 Hildesheim

Phone: 0049 (0) 5121 93 56 83 -15

Internet: www.hnw-land.de


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