The Hasepark (*the Hase is a river of the federal Land of Lower Saxony) in the east of Osnabrück owes its name to the adjacent water course. The Hase, as the original Klöckner-Hase is called, flows south of the city park, separating the residential area in the north from the commercial areas south of the river.
The green space was known as a social hotspot and was planned to be refurbished in 2019 and transformed into a recreational area for young and old. A large playground was to be built on an area of almost 15,000 m², which should attract families from all over the city as a destination for excursions, while at the same time taking into account a design concept meeting the needs of the surrounding district. The issue of inclusion was particularly important for the new playground. Thus, a training course and calisthenics facility had been planned for both young people and adults who love doing sports. In order to reduce the potential for conflict between playing children, walking and cycling people to a minimum, the paths in the park and along the banks of the river Hase had to be improved and redesigned. Gordon Brandenfels, a graduate engineer from our landscape architects’ office brandenfels landscape + environment, was responsible for the project implementation.
The Hasepark already had two playgrounds as well as a football pitch with a synthetic surface and an asphalted hockey and basketball area that had to be integrated into the large playground. The park was dominated by a hill that had been mounded in 1999 and by the planting also carried out at that time. The shrubs have since developed into a closed structure, making the area difficult to view, thus attracting undisturbed evening and night-time use. The existing path structures had overgrown laterally due to lack of use and had visually developed into trampling paths. The area therefore looked more like a pioneer woodland than a park in the planning sense.
For the planning phase, a participatory process with citizens was established, which had been organised by the city of Osnabrück. In the local children's and youth office, a workshop was carried out with the children on a participatory basis so as to include their wishes and ideas for their new playground when designing the relevant concept.
Different playground areas had to be created for very young children and toddlers as well as for primary school children and adolescents. For the planning of the large playground, we teamed up with the play equipment manufacturer Berliner Seilfabrik. The toddlers' area is almost completely enclosed with natural stone blocks and filled with play sand. Here, the little ones can climb up the ramp into a playhouse (called Roo) and slide down again on the other side. In addition, the playhouse offers a mud table that encourages role-playing and a small rotatable memo game. A double swing rounds off the toddlers’ area. A variety of play equipment has found its place on the area covered with seamless rubber fall protection and fall protection sand, which separates the toddlers’ area from the playground for older children. Five of the twelve pieces of playground equipment for the over-three-year-olds were designed to be particularly inclusive. The inclusive play elements were arranged in such a way that there is no separate play area to ensure that instead mixing and contact situations are promoted. On this centrally arranged area the children will find, among other things, a painting wall and a little house with different play panels that promote motor and auditory development. Both the painting wall and the play panels are easily accessible by wheelchairs. Furthermore, there is a nest swing (Bowl Swing) with a low entry, trampolines and a carousel for wheelchair users. The older children can reach a small house (the so-called PentaBoo) perching on top via the spacenet at the centre mast unit from where they can climb over a net tunnel into the tree house (Trii), which is approximately four metres high, and whiz down the curved tube slide from there. The Sky Swing and the VIP Swing have been placed a little further away from each other. On the VIP Swing, communication and cooperation are required to get the swing swinging together.
In order to create a coherent play space in the overall area and to maximise the distance from the street as well as from the river Hase and the residents, the new play space was installed in the centre of the plateau of the mound. The elevation makes it unattractive to cyclists, dog walkers and other groups, the fact of which should minimise user conflicts. The existing paths were left in their original position and most of them refurbished. For crossing the area, especially by bike, a wide path was added by taking into account the experience gained from the many years of use. A stairway to the Klöckner-Hase and a small recreation area allow for a more enjoyable experience of the water course. The play area can now be accessed barrier-free via an access route with 4 percent gradient. The area for the trend sports, such as the training course and calisthenics, was moved away from the main play area to reduce any conflict potential.
The central area of the playground was supplemented by a plaza for longer stays. Table and bench combinations serving as a meeting place or a place to enjoy picknicks brought along by the visitors, invite them to have a rest. At the play areas, natural stone blocks, partly with wooden pads, have been installed to provide seating areas, allowing the people to stay and join in. Benches along the paths, some with raised seats and additional armrests, round off the recreational facilities.
Litter bins were installed at the resting areas according to the expected use. Since barbecuing is prohibited in the play area, additional table-bench combinations were placed directly at the water connection. To encourage park users to stay, a toilet facility was installed that is only open during the day.
Most of the trees and large shrubs remained and were cut back for a better use of the area. Fringe vegetation and areas below the playground were retained. The shrubbery in the direct play area was reduced considerably to improve the overall feeling of safety and to reduce hiding places for night-time activities.
The number of bicycle parking spaces was also increased because of the nearby Haseuferweg. Some of the parking spaces are longer to accommodate cargo bikes and bicycles with trailers. A new parking space for people with disabilities was built in connection with the park.
The refurbished Hasepark is really something to be proud of. The children are especially happy about their new playground, which has become a popular destination for families with children of different ages and abilities.
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