7. March 2023

Inclusive Playground in Osnabrück, Germany

Hasepark in Osnabrück, Germany gets its name from the adjacent waters “Klöckner-Hase” also called just “Hase”. It runs south of the city park and separates the living area in the North from the industrial space south of the river. The green area, known as a social flashpoint in the past, was supposed to be reconstructed as a recreational area for young and old in 2019. A playground, covering about 160,000 ft2, was constructed. The goal was to make it a destination for families taking a day trip across the city as well as cover the needs of inhabitants living in closer districts. The theme of inclusion was of special importance to the new playground. There was also a Parkour and Calisthenics structure planned for physically active teenagers and adults. To minimize potential conflict between the playing children and crossing cyclists or pedestrians, the routing of the park as well as the shoreline were optimized.

There already were two playgrounds as well as a football field and hockey or basketball facilities at Hasepark, which were planned to be integrated into the large playground. Before, the facility was dominated by a hill, raised in 1999, together with its vegetation. Since then, the bushes had developed a closed structure, which made it hard to get a view of the playground. The established trails were overgrown by plants from the sides. The local children’s and youth-office held a “future workshop” where children and teenagers could express their wishes for the new playground. The plan included building multiple different playing spaces for toddlers, elementary school students and also teenagers.

The toddler’s area is almost entirely framed by nature stone blocks and filled with playing sand. This is where the youngest can climb up the ramp to a playhouse (Roo) and slide down on the other side. Additionally, there is a mud table, encouraging role play, as well as a rotatable Memo-game. A double swing rounds off the toddler’s area. The surface covered by fall protection rubber, separating the toddler’s area and the larger playground, features a multitude of different play equipment. The twelve structures for children of three years or older were designed especially inclusive. They are arranged in a way that allows for more intermixing and contact between the children. On this central area, the children can find, among other things, a painting wall and a little house with different play panels that promote motor and auditory development. The painting wall and the play panels are also accessible via wheelchair. Furthermore, you will find a Bowl Swing with low entry height, trampolines and a wheel chair carousel.

In order to create a cohesive surface in the whole area and maximize distance to the street and the Hase river as well, the new playing space was placed in the middle of the plateau of the hill. The already established pathways were mostly renewed. The area for Parkour and Calisthenics was developed some distance from the main playing surface to reduce potential for conflict.

The refurbished Hasepark is a real success. The children are especially happy about the playground they were allowed to co-create. Hasepark has become a popular day trip destination for families with children of all ages and abilities.