New park brings recreational opportunities to disadvantaged district of Graz

For decades the Styrian capital’s district of Gries suffered from a lack of public green space, but the creation of a new park with assistance from the European Regional Development Fund has brought much-needed recreational opportunities to a previously grey area of the city.

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The park is used for a variety of sporting and recreational purposes The park is used for a variety of sporting and recreational purposes

Social and ethnic segregation, poor housing and a lack of recreational opportunities were just some of the problems facing the district of Gries in Graz. But the opening in 1997 of the 20 000 m2 Oeverseepark, a few kilometres south-west of the centre of Graz, has provided children, their parents and young people with access to playgrounds, sports facilities and paths for walking.

The park has since become popular with citizens of all ages, particularly the residents of a nearby geriatric hospital who now enjoy easy access to an area of greenery and flowers.

Community was involved in the park’s creation

During the project’s planning phase, the city’s urban planners and landscape gardeners met with neighbourhood residents to obtain their views on how the multifunctional park should be configured.

This consultation process led to areas of the park being designated for particular purposes. For example, the provision of a separate dog-walking area, where four-legged friends are able to exercise without fear of confrontation between dog owners and the parents of young children. Meanwhile, the park has been well connected with Graz’s existing cycle lane network.

According to Gerhard Ablasser, of the City of Graz, the project has been a great success with large numbers of people using the park on a daily basis for a variety of sporting and recreational purposes. The park has also promoted social integration in an area of the city with residents from a wide variety of countries around the world.


Draft date

19/12/2012