A city for young and old – Griesheim, Germany

  • Posted on: 23 November 2017
  • By: Susanne Wrighton
Playing equipment on the streets

Most cities are designed for car drivers and therefore offer few opportunities for children and senior citizens to enjoy their city. In fact, there are not enough places for children to play apart from playgrounds. For seniors there are only a few places to sit and rest. Especially elderly people who are impaired due to illness or disability have a need for places to rest and regain some strength.
The city of Griesheim has already done a project to redesign areas for children in 2008, afterwards they started to focus on pedestrians who have problems to master long distances due to illness, disabilities or their age.

Play-able City (“Bespielbare Stadt”)

During the project to redesign ways for children the city installed about 100 objects on school routes to give children the opportunity to experience and explore their way to school differently. Those objects were designed to relax, play, jump, and climb or to make the way easier to remember.

Own-able City (“Besitzbare Stadt”)

Aim of the project was to give back people who were usually mostly ignored with regard to city design – like the elderly, disabled and ill people – the urban space. The city of Griesheim wanted to be more attractive for people with special needs. They intended to change and redesign the city to give people with needs the opportunity to meet and be part of public life, as well as places to rest and relax for a brief time.
The process of change was realized in three phases:

  1. Identification Phase
    First, it was important to find the places most frequented by seniors and where more places to stay were needed.
  2. Concretisation Phase
    Results of the Identification Phase were compared with the actual situation. Furthermore, the city was examined for more options to transform streets and places.
  3. Implementation Phase
    The city was furnished differently for people with needs. Afterwards the citizens made an evaluation of the redesigned spaces.
  4. Results
  • The pedestrians of Griesheim now have urban areas which correspond to their needs
  • Children have better designed school ways and opportunities to playfully explore those routes
  • The safety to master long distances increased for elderly people
  • The newly designed places offer objects to stay for a brief time to rest and regain strength
  • There are redesigned places to meet and take part in the public life
  • Elderly people are no longer excluded of public life
  • For very long distances the city offers a flexible cab system

In Depth