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Breathing new Life into

Breathing new Life into the Neighbourhood The Giesenberg play area in Wichlinghausen, a district of Wuppertal in Germany, has been given a complete overhaul. Wichlinghausen is known as a deprived area. The newly designed area should inject new life into the district. The new design is part of the “Social City of Oberbarmen/Wichlinghausen” programme. Better paths, more sun and new play equipment will make it a success. The landscape architect responsible for redesigning the area is Mattis Ricken. Ricken works for the city of Wuppertal and has been supervising the project from the very beginning. Mattis Ricken states: “The area itself has actually had a play park for many years. This was last refurbished in the eighties. Combi.077 90.293.077 (m) 26,0 x 15,1 x 5,2 (‘-‘‘) 85-2 x 49-7 x 16-11 EN 1176 (m) 29,5 x 18,1 ASTM/CSA(m) 30,9 x 19,3 ASTM/CSA (‘-‘‘) 101-1 x 63-2 EN 1176 (m) 2,99 ASTM/CSA (‘-‘‘) 9-10 Before building work began on the Nordbahntrasse though, the play area was set in a dark corner; it was also heavily overgrown and not considered very safe. Because of its shady location and vandalism, the play equipment was in very poor condition. As a result, children very rarely played here. The roots had destroyed parts of the paths and the foliage allowed very little light onto the play area. The wooden play equipment was most affected by this. It all had to be removed. The area also has an old piece of climbing equipment made by Berliner Seilfabrik, which has been given a new net as part of the development. “ The work on the Nordbahntrasse was the trigger for giving the play area a new chance again. But it was clear that a few changes would have to be made to the area for this to happen. Before building work began, all the shrub undergrowth was therefore cut back and a few trees removed to allow light into the area. Now the play area is bright and visible and has a much friendlier look. The Nordbahntrasse is used by families at the weekend to escape the busy traffic and enjoy walks and cycle rides. Now it’s really exciting for the little ones to be able to make a stop at the Giesenberg play area. The play area was built between May and September 2015. Eighty percent of the cost was covered by the federal and state governments. “The topographical location of the play area was very challenging in the planning phase", explains Ricken enthusiastically. Because of its position on a slope, there were only a few flat areas available. The one large, level surface is now taken over by the playing field made from artificial turf. The large slope has a vertical distance of over 15 m. This was to be used as an opportunity to install a special piece of play equipment. Initially there was already a wooden tower here with a slide that led down into the valley. But the new play equipment needed to offer more: interesting climbing options, stay value, an open net bridge with a possibility to look across the whole play area, and of course, the play equipment itself had to be a design feature. The new play equipment is a real hit and has been very well received by the children. Even at the official opening, well over thirty children were rushing about the equipment at the same time, wanting to climb and slide.” Marcus Vellmanns, employee at Berliner Seilfabrik says: “Originally, the old slide was going to be reused. Joining it to our new equipment wouldn’t have been a problem. Our colleagues from the technology department have individual solutions for every play area. Unfortunately, however, the TÜV did not approve this. The slide itself no longer complied with today’s standards.” New slope and guard rails had to be fitted. Now, instead of connecting steps, there is a ramp in place. This means the nearby cycle and footpaths are easily accessible to both pedestrians with buggies and to cyclists – without steps. Landscape architect Ricken explains: “The play equipment is even visible from far away, inviting children to climb and speed down the slide into the valley. The children from the neighbouring school also really enjoy spending their break times in the play area again now.” “The new play equipment is a real hit and has been very well received by the children.” Wuppertal, Germany 5 56 Berliner Greenville Trii Berliner Greenville Trii 57


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