Schandorffs Square: Parking lot to park

A distant view of the place and gate showing the winding path, steps and sitting areas in Schandorff Square.
Re-modelled Schandorffs Square in Oslo

Remodelling a sloping urban open space with a heritage building is no easy task. Taking a universal design approach is one way to solve the issues. The re-design of Schandorffs Square shows how to turn a parking lot into a park using a universal design framework.

The problem was making a city space, with a heritage wall and gate, on a sloping site into a pleasant place to walk, and to have informal get-togethers.

The height difference of seven metres was the main challenge. But with some universal design thinking to drive the design they came up with a successful inclusive and accessible design. Lots of seating areas and visual contrast increase the accessibility of the site. In addition, designers also found the right mix of plants to suit people with allergies. 

See more detail on the story about this universally designed open space and the difficulties they overcame. Several photos illustrate the final design, and the designer explains their universal design approach in a Vimeo video. 

Editor’s Note: Norway has almost no flat land and is at the forefront of rolling out universal design everywhere. So the myth that you can’t do UD on sloping sites is put to bed.

Re-modelling a city park

A landscape study brings together aspects of universal design and accessibility with wellbeing. Using an existing park in a Polish city as a case study, researchers had to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of eliminating some features in favour of others.

A view of the park showing many people using the park on a sunny day.

When the remodelling of the park was complete, the final assessment phase showed increased visitation. However, getting to the park was still problematic due to the poor accessibility from nearby streets. This is a key point and something emphasised in the Everyone Can Play guideline that has the three key elements for a successful play space: Can I get there? Can I play? Can I stay?

The title of the study is, The results of qualitative research on health-affirming urban places on example of new planned central park in Gdynia.

Designing public recreational spaces

Urban population growth, climate change, and the energy crisis pose significant challenges for local authorities in shifting policy-making towards sustainable development. The debate on urban planning has centred on the placemaking approach and the implementation of the 15-minute city and smart city concepts. This approach promotes sustainable urban development reliant on links between the natural environment, the economy, and society.

The aim of this study was to explore the possibilities of urban planning solutions that contribute to sustainable urban development. The study was conducted in a medium-sized Polish city where public recreational spaces were redesigned in line with the principles of sustainable urban development.

We propose universal urban development projects that create a sustainable future for society, the natural environment, and the climate. The title of the paper is, The voice of society in designing public recreational spaces in an urban environment. The paper has images of good designs.

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