Cologne: 26.–29.10.2021 #fsb

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eSlot booking

For which vehicles must eSlots (time slots) be booked?

eSlots must be booked for all vehicles that deliver goods to or collect goods from our trade fair grounds.

Where can eSlots (time slots) be booked?

eSlots can be booked in the portal at following registration. Bookings can be made on site at the self-check-in at car park P22 for an additional charge.

Who can book an eSlot?

After registering, anyone can book an eSlot.

When can a time slot be booked?

The booking portal will be activated two months before set-up starts for the respective event.

Is the system responsive?

The eSlot portal and our navigation app NUNAV are responsive and can be operated with all common digital end devices and browsers.

eSlot costs and payment

How much does an eSlot cost?
In advance in the eSlot portal
On site using self-check-in
In advance in the eSlot portal 0.00 EUR
On site using self-check-in 0.00 EUR
Vans up to and including 3.5 t
In advance in the eSlot portal 15.00 EUR
On site using self-check-in 20.00 EUR
Lorries up to and including 12 t
In advance in the eSlot portal 35.00 EUR
On site using self-check-in 45.00 EUR
Articulated lorries up to 40 t
In advance in the eSlot portal 46.00 EUR
On site using self-check-in 60.00 EUR

* A deposit of 100.00 euro will be charged for cars. This is payable in advance at P21 (in cash and only in euro). The deposit will be refunded if the exit time is respected.

How are special vehicles classified?

Crane: Corresponds to a 40-tonne lorry

Trailers: A car with a trailer is equivalent to a van; a truck (12 t) with a trailer is equivalent to a truck up to 40 t

How are eSlots paid for?

Portal: with EC or credit card (Master Card or Visa)

Self-check-in: with EC or credit card (Master Card or Visa), with cash

eSlot in combination with NUNAV

What are the advantages of using the NUNAV app?

Navigating with the NUNAV app enables optimal routing to your booked eSlot. To use the app, enter your journey number and your PIN from the booking confirmation. NUNAV guides you without unnecessary detours, taking into account your vehicle class and any applicable restrictions as well as the current traffic situation, to the correct entrance gate and all the way to your final loading point. The system constantly adapts to the current conditions during your journey. In the event of a delay, the system automatically assigns you the next possible time slot.

Why do I have to use the NUNAV app for navigation on the Koelnmesse site?

The NUNAV navigation app should be downloaded before beginning your journey. The NUNAV navigation app is to be used to guide the driver on the fastest route to the correct loading position for navigation on the premises from the entrance gate to the loading area as well as for navigation from the loading area to the exit gate.

Where can I download the NUNAV app for navigation?

With your booking confirmation you will receive a link for the app NUNAV Navigation. You can also download the app directly at any time using the following link:

Detailed questions

For how many vehicles is eSlot booking valid?

The eSlot booking is possible per vehicle and time. This means, for example: A lorry that has to load at 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. needs two time slots.

How long can I stay on the trade fair grounds during my booked eSlot?
Passenger car and van (2.8 / 3.5 t)
Lorry (7.5 /12 t)
Articulated lorries (40 t)
Maximum length of stay
Passenger car and van (2.8 / 3.5 t)
1 hour
Lorry (7.5 /12 t)
2 hours
Articulated lorries (40 t)
3 hours
Is it possible to specify multiple loading points when booking an eSlot?

Yes. Click on the “+” under the hall and stand number and enter the other loading points you require. However, you may only make one booking per vehicle.

Can the booking be changed afterwards?

Yes. Almost all information can be changed afterwards. To change the data, select the journey you require under “Current Journeys” in the eSlot portal and click on “Edit”.

You can also change the time slot by clicking on the “Reschedule” button.

If the eSlot is during the set-up phase of a Koelnmesse event, it is possible to change the booking to another time slot on the portal free of charge up to one week before the start of the event set-up phase. If the eSlot should fall during the dismantling phase for an event at Koelnmesse, rebooking of an alternative time slot on the portal shall be permissible up to one week prior to the start of this dismantling phase for the event. Each case requires that another eSlot is available. In addition, the vehicle type must be retained when rebooking. Rebooking must be performed by clicking on the "Reschedule" button. The times for the set-up or dismantling phases shall be displayed to the Customer before the time slot is booked.

Can a licence plate be changed in the booking?

You can change the licence plate in the eSlot portal at any time.

Can an eSlot be deleted or cancelled?

Cancellation and thus reimbursement of costs is not possible. However, the time of the booking can be changed.

Are the vehicles guarded during their stay on the exhibition grounds?

Security, surveillance, safekeeping and the granting of insurance cover shall not constitute objects of the Agreement. Even if there are staff present on the grounds of Koelnmesse, or if the grounds are subject to observation using optical-electronic equipment (video surveillance), this shall not be associated with any assumption of custody or liability, specifically where theft or damage are involved.

What happens if... / Troubleshooting

What happens if no time slot has been booked in advance?

Before entering the trade fair grounds, the driver must go to the registration office in car park P22. Waiting times on-site are likely. The prices are up to 30 percent higher than for an advance booking online.

What happens if I miss my time slot?

If you use the NUNAV app, the system automatically assigns you the next possible time slot. Waiting times may occur depending on the available time slots. If the time slot is in the future, NUNAV automatically routes the vehicle to the waiting area at P22 and informs the driver as soon as it is possible to enter the trade fair grounds.

Drivers arriving without the NUNAV app will definitely have to go to the P22 parking lot to the logistics centre (vending machine or counter) to obtain a new time slot.

There is no additional charge for assigning a new time slot. However, a new time slot can only be offered if available.

What happens if I arrive before my booked time slot?

If you use the NUNAV app, the system will automatically try to assign you an earlier time slot. If this is not possible, you will be routed to car park P22.

Drivers arriving without the NUNAV app must go to car park P22 and can try to obtain a new time slot at the self-check-in (machine or counter).

What happens if the specified time limit is exceeded?

If the customer exceeds the time limit, Koelnmesse is entitled to have the vehicle towed at the customer's/holder's expense (see Koelnmesse's building and grounds regulations). The vehicle will be released for payment of the incurred costs.

After the booked eSlot has expired, vehicles can be temporarily parked free of charge in designated parking areas. The parking areas must be cleared by 24:00 hrs on the last set-up day at the latest. Vehicles weighing less than 7.5 tons may use P21 for this purpose. Vehicles weighing more than 7.5 tons may use P22.

An ecological comparison of artificial and natural turf

6 Jul 2021

How green is artificial turf?

Artificial turf vs. natural grass

The City of Zurich wishes to reduce its per-capita primary energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. To analyse and compare the environmental impact of different types of turf pitches, the Grün Stadt Zürich has commissioned Zurich University of Applied Sciences with a life cycle assessment study. How do artificial turf pitches with and without infill compare with natural turf pitches? The authors René Itten and Matthias Stucki of the Life Cycle Assessment Research Group at Zurich University of Applied Sciences draw their conclusions.


Artificial and natural turf pitches are precisely defined and built structures, and their visible life cycle starts with their construction. However, this is almost the only thing that artificial turf and natural turf have in common. In a comprehensive life cycle assessment, researchers at Zurich University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with the Grün Stadt Zürich and sports ground experts have compared the environmental impact of natural and artificial turf from pitch construction through maintenance and renovation through to dismantling and disposal. Even if natural turf and artificial turf have the same function as a sports surface, the two product systems could not be more different.

Different environmental impacts

Greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions of the various turf pitches per hour of use, broken down into the contributions from construction, renovation, maintenance and disposal

The artificial turf value chain of relevance for the life cycle assessment begins with the production of petroleum as the raw material, while the value chain of natural turf starts with the production of turf seeds and synthetic fertilisers. The environmental impacts of the two types of turf pitches are correspondingly different. With artificial turf, it is its production, renovation and disposal that have the biggest impact. But natural turf is also anything but natural, with the biggest environmental impact being in its operation and maintenance with the use of fertilisers, plant protection products and diesel-powered vehicles for mowing and filling with sand.

However, there are differences not only between artificial and natural turf, but also within these two types. The two main types of artificial turf are with infill of sand or plastic granulate and without infill. For its part, natural turf can be classified into turf with a drainage layer and naturally drained natural turf on the existing soil.

Hours of usage are crucial

The key variable for a comparison of turf pitches is the annual hours of use. Unlike natural turf, artificial turf can also be used in winter or wet weather and can therefore be played on much longer. The greater the intensity of turf use, the lower the environmental impact per hour of use. A survey of the effective usage time in the City of Zurich has shown that, in reality, natural turf is used far less than is theoretically possible.

Carbon footprint per hour of use

Put to maximum theoretical use, an artificial turf pitch without infill and natural turf with a drainage layer cause the lowest greenhouse gas emissions at 36 kg CO2eq per hour of use. A comparison of the different types of turf clearly shows where the differences lie. Maintenance causes 60% and 45% of the greenhouse gas emissions of natural turf, naturally drained and with a drainage layer, respectively. For artificial turf with and without infill, only 8% and just over 1% of the environmental impact comes from maintenance. On the other hand, renovation causes 45% to 48% and disposal 20% to 23% of the greenhouse gas emissions of artificial turf. In the case of artificial turf with infill, the granulate infill is fully replaced and disposed of during renovation.

The annual usage varies from 480 hours for naturally drained natural turf to 1,600 hours for the two types of artificial turf. Since artificial turf without infill can be used more intensively than natural turf and also impacts the environment considerably less during renovation and maintenance than artificial turf with infill, artificial turf without infill yields lower values for greenhouse gas emissions than natural turf with a drainage layer.

Comparison of other environmental impacts

Any comparison of different turf pitches must not be reduced to greenhouse gas emissions alone, as a broader comparison taking various environmental impacts into account reveals further significant differences.

In terms of air pollutants and the eutrophication of seas and soils, the environmental impact of artificial turf is significantly lower than that of natural turf. Air pollutants and eutrophication are mainly caused by the maintenance of natural turf. More specifically, the burning of diesel during lawn-mowing causes air pollution, and the use of artificial fertilisers encourages eutrophication.

Natural turf and artificial turf differ most in terms of ecotoxic emissions. The plant protection products used on natu­ral turf are released into the environment, causing toxic effects. Since neither artificial fertilisers nor pesticides are used in the maintenance of artificial turf and diesel consumption in the maintenance of artificial turf is also significantly lower, the impact of artificial turf is significantly lower than that of natural turf in a direct comparison.

Problematical microplastic

Artificial turf with infill is a source of microplastic, which is discharged from the pitch and thus finds its way into the environment of the artificial turf pitch and into the wastewater. Granulate infill specifically from recycled car tyres contains environmentally harmful substances in the form of heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. From an environmental point of view, artificial turf with infill is therefore not recommended. The City of Zurich has already decided not to install such artificial turf any more..

Efficient usage is key

The greatest potential for reducing the environmental impact of turf pitches in the City of Zurich lies in optimising their use. If sports pitches are used more intensively, then less new acreage needs to be claimed for additional facilities. Other approaches include switching from mowing to mulching to reduce the demand for fertiliser and using electrified robotic mowers instead of diesel-powered lawnmowers. However, it is not only infrastructure operators who are called upon to make sport more sustainable with a low ecological footprint, but also athletes themselves, for example, by choosing environmentally friendly means of transport to get to the sports ground.


The complete study in German is available in the ZHAW Digital Collection.

Executive summary in English

In addition, a performance indicator model is avail­able that allows key parameters such as the annual hours of use to be adjusted in favour of an individual life cycle assessment for a specific turf pitch.

Source: IAKS

School centre sports hall in Gloggnitz, Austria

17 May 2021

School centre sports hall in Gloggnitz, Austria

Photo: David Boureau

Exercise space on all levels

School centre sports hall in Gloggnitz, Austria

Photo: David Boureau

Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes is implementing the ambitious educational programme of the new open and integrative school in three dimensions. The new secondary school has a strong bias towards sport. As a spacious volume visible on all floors, the sports areas form the spatial and conceptual focus of the square floor plan.

Like all rural communities, Gloggnitz with its popu­lation of 6,000 is a municipality that is battling with a dying village centre. In order to strengthen the location, the three previously separate schools (primary school, new secondary school and special needs centre) have been concentrated in an attractive, shared new complex.

School centre’s ground floor symbolises openness

School centre sports hall in Gloggnitz, Austria

Photo: David Boureau

Load-bearing structure

As a spacious, 7.88 m high, visible volume, the spatial and conceptual centre of the square floor plan is formed by the three sports areas. Domed skylights illuminate this open and central space with natural light. Covering it is a filigree, optimised, three-dimensional steel frame with a ­30-metre unsupported span.

The rooms adapted to the various activities – the general sports hall, gymnastics hall and climbing wall – extend through all levels from the basement to the roof terrace. The space above them forms the airy centre of the foyer: glass balustrades and fine suspended rope nets as fall protection and ball stop netting create a space that is visually permeable throughout. The sports areas are bordered on two sides by seating stands behind glass balustrades, turning the sports hall, gymnastics hall and climbing wall into a stage.

The ground floor is fully glazed and therefore visually permeable inwardly and outwardly. The entrance is located close to the centre in the north-west, overlooking a large public forecourt. The projecting first floor forms a broad canopy, creating a weather-protected entrance zone and drawing inwards those arriving. It marks the transition from the public outdoor area to the interior of the school.

Good to know:

  • Location: Gloggnitz, Austria
  • Client/Operator: Municipality of Gloggnitz
  • Architects: Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes, FR – 93100 Montreuil,
  • Author: Isabella Marboe
  • Photos: David Boureau and Hertha Hurnaus
  • Official Opening: August 2019
  • Construction costs: EUR 20.54 million

Clear and legible structure

School centre sports hall in Gloggnitz, Austria

Photo: Hertha Hurnaus

The ground floor is the public area: at the entrance there are two cloakrooms, and all special needs and other classrooms are arranged in a ring around the open sports and exercise space and are readily accessible for external use from the foyer or the side entrances.

All classrooms of the three school types are located on a common level on the first floor, arranged around the wooden roof terrace with prism-shaped lantern skylights above the sports space. These articulate this large, shared open space for all, which can also be used as an “outdoor classroom”. Around this open courtyard, the school centre is organised on the cluster principle: classrooms that can be opened up are grouped around a so-called “market place”, which merges into the open circulation zone. In this way lessons can take place in an open space situation involving several classes. All areas thus become the setting for shared learning and interaction across school types.

Rooms flooded with natural light

School centre sports hall in Gloggnitz, Austria

Photo: David Boureau

The central air space is illuminated via glass elements integrated into the structures on the terrace. Alternatively, illumination is achieved from above via the glazed decking and the side glazing. The side glazing permits sight lines between the terrace on the first floor and the sports rooms on the first basement floor.

During lessons, the classrooms are mainly supplied with natural fresh air via automatically controlled window ­sashes. Their regulation is based on constantly measured CO2 values in the classrooms and thus ensures efficient, energy-saving, natural ventilation.

During the breaks and overnight, “shock ventilation” is carried out for a rapid air change. Three vents per classroom are integrated into the façade. Used air is extracted in the equipment rooms of the sports halls. Sound-insulated overflow elements in the classroom walls and the permanently open stairwells create a defined ventilation route.

Impressions (Photos: David Boureau and Hertha Hurnaus)

Source: IAKS

La Fontaine multisports complex in Antony, France

20 Apr 2021

Golden nugget - La Fontaine multisports complex in Antony, France

A focal point for meeting and practising sports, the multisports complex designed by archi5 with Tecnova architecture houses two separate parts, one for the middle school and the other for clubs and municipal organisations. The challenge was to create an integrative project and unite the two facilities that operate independently, even though they share some spaces such as a climbing wall, martial arts dojo, boxing hall, multipurpose hall, and offices.

There was a strong political will locally for a new urban ambition for this neighbourhood. The context is mixed with linear apartment blocks on one side and the park’s exceptional planted heritage on the other. The project includes a clearly defined theme (nature) for individuals and the community as a whole. It is as much an expression of form as function, visible in all aspects of the building and on all scales.

The building takes the area’s vocabulary into account and complements the urban environment by injecting new impetus into the setting. It has become an attractive landmark for residents on a scale with the neighbourhood.

The project uses mystery to sharpen curiosity and interest. This is manifested by the choice of this mineral shape as a large, multi-facetted monolith, i.e. a mysterious, precious stone planted in the landscape that contrasts yet harmonises with the setting. The fascinating structure of this “gold nugget” is framed by greenery. The roof serves as the fifth façade.

Powerful ties with nature

Golden nugget - La Fontaine multisports complex in Antony, France

In this new landscape a central incision opens onto the Bièvre valley and clearly separates the two sides of the sport centre and ensures natural light in the gymnasiums and concourses. This incision is like a canyon, exploiting the building’s scale. It is an invitation to unravel the mystery of the precious rock and heightens the subtle permeability between the interior with the exterior. It is the key to a closer reading of the building that reveals its transparency as one approaches it.

The analogy with nature is not just a formal one. It is deeply grounded in the building’s structure by the choice of noble, integral materials which will only improve with time. The skin is composed of a copper, aluminium and tin alloy. It will not rust, will retain its bronze colour and will take on a more matted sheen with age.

The complex shapes a landscape out of which the urban feature of the climbing hall emerges. The building is one with the green environment and stands out from the neighbouring buildings. Here, nature is not expressed by plants, i.e. there is no plant cover that is not in accordance with the building’s scale or inappropriate to the context of the venue. Its unusualness gives it its identity, its landmark status.

Gut zu wissen

  • Location: Antony, Frace
  • Client/operator: City of Antony
  • Architects:
    FR – 93100 Montreuil

    Tecnova Architecture
    FR – 75005 Paris
  • Author: archi5 & Tecnova Architecture
  • Photos: Sergio Grazia
  • Official opening: 2018
  • Construction costs: EUR 14.3 million

Taking the outside in

Golden nugget - La Fontaine multisports complex in Antony, France

The sports centre is structured by a play of transparencies and visual vents, which blur the borders between outside and inside, so that the surrounding greenery is ever present. The openings are framed and highlight striking features on the inside and outside. The orientations have been chosen for the sporting activity.

The walls are covered with wooden slats, and the taut canvas ceilings respect the dimensions of the facets. The natural lighting, spacious volumes, and atmospheres generated by the unvarnished material are conducive to the peacefulness necessary for practising sport. A balcony-like partial mezzanine has been created for the public and offers views of the sports halls.

Source: IAKS

Emerging from the Pandemic: Challenges and Opportunities for the Sports and Leisure Sector

15 Apr 2021

This webinar discussed the challenges that the sports and leisure sector is facing, as it emerges from the pandemic, along with new opportunities for it to play a part in the national recovery. Key figures from across both the public and private sector will explore what this recovery might look like and how the sector can help to shape a new agenda for improving public health.

Venue readiness

2 Nov 2020

A global approach to Covid-secure venue planning

Adapting venues: A global approach to Covid-safe facility planning

The global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have produced one of the greatest challenges to affect the whole of society in a generation. While people from around the world are coming to terms with the health, economic and social ramifications of the virus, many businesses in the sports and entertainment industry are taking unprecedented steps to make their venues Covid-secure and start planning to welcome supporters back once again. From our global experience and round table discussions with regulators, governmental bodies, owners, and operators, this article outlines the key areas and strategies that we have seen within the industry and seeks to shed light on what the future might look like for Covid-secure sports venues around the world.

Flexible scenario planning

From the beginning of the pandemic, with some areas hit in late 2019, it was immediately clear that any reopening and business solution for venues would require full stakeholder engagement. Even before reaching the specific needs of your own venue, it is essential to take the following into account:

  • recommendations from national and international health bodies;
  • guidelines from local and national government;
  • future risks, as yet unknown.

Almost every league, federation, or event around the world has adopted an approach to spectator and fan safety in the face of this global pandemic. However, as the virus spreads at different rates around the world, from town to town and continent to continent, so the specific approach will change dependent on location but also over time.

“This is very much an issue of immediate risk assessment,” says Sherri Privitera, Populous Senior Principal and Americas regional board member. “While we are seeing some leagues open to a small number of fans, others have called off the whole season. As designers we can help those who make these really big decisions see their specific situation in the light of their current national health and government guidelines.”

As well as differences from town to town, things can also change quickly within a location, according to Populous Senior Principal and EMEA sector lead Mark Craine. “The UK Government is making national and regional decisions based on the data that is changing right in front of them. This means that while we can prepare everything in advance for one scenario, a sudden change will often mean that a full reassessment is required in a short period of time. Having multiple options and advanced scenario planning while also developing time saving strategies and tools has been key supporting venues in this new constantly changing environment.”

Health & safety

Entrance management in event locations

Populous, UK – SW15 2NU London

While always a key consideration for stadiums around the world, creating a safe and Covid-secure environment is now a vital requirement for every venue, be it large or small, sporting or otherwise. Stadiums are incredibly tactile spaces and considering the specification of materials that limit the potential for viruses to linger on surfaces will be vital in all return to venue plans. This will naturally also be linked to enhanced cleaning and maintenance regimes, that will operate before, during and after matches.

Upon arrival, all visitors are likely to be met with a range of health testing procedures. From “health passports” linked to digital ticketing to digital thermometers, the entrance to a venue will be a vital threshold to protecting and maintaining all of a stadium’s internal Covid-secure policies and processes. “This is going to be a really important space for every venue,” says Chris Paterson, Populous Senior Principal in the APAC region. “Physical safety and security have long been a priority at stadiums around the world, and a lot of work has gone into making these spaces safe as well as welcoming. Whatever the ¬capacity of a stadium going forwards, the temporary overlay of these spaces to meet these new immediate needs is going to be crucial in safeguarding all attendees.”


Admission control to event locations

Populous, UK – SW15 2NU London

Flexibility, both physical and organisational, will be key going forwards in a post-pandemic world. The new normal begins before any fan or spectator even leaves their home. Public transport and road restrictions may affect every individual and must be addressed with the relevant authorities prior to any event. Around the world, most stadiums will use a multi-modal transport strategy, with a range of different providers from private individuals to trains and buses, to get fans to the venue.

Meanwhile, the technological advancement that we have seen in stadiums over the past decade has made it easier for them to quickly adapt as venues plan for some fans to return, often at reduced capacities and with stringent health and safety measures in place. Digital wayfinding systems, ticketless entry, and cashless transaction systems have all been put to use as we find ways that grounds around the world can begin to zone their stadiums, to serve all the needs of fans whilst allowing for social distancing and limiting physical touch points during their

venue visit.

The key priority for all venues, then, must be in keeping people moving and avoiding queues. Techniques to achieve this could include:

  • using targetted temperature screening at entrances to minimise queues into the stadium;
  • retaining all toilet fixtures to minimise queues in toilets;
  • additional options for click and collect or delivery to seat for food and beverages in concourses.

Restarting, reopening and adapting

One similarity that can be seen around the world as venues plan for the future is the need for bespoke solutions. While approaches can be adopted in common, solutions need to be tailored to fit each and every case – and need to have back-up built in. As Al Baxter, Populous Principal in APAC tells us, every client and venue will need a range of possible solutions. “We have seen so many nuanced requirements come out of the hundreds of meetings that we have had with our contacts as they prepare to reopen into this ‘new normal’,” Baxter says. “While many of these needs can be grouped together, the design solution is anything but homogenous.”

And change comes quickly. For example, an extensive and thoroughly evaluated plan on Friday may be made -redundant come game day on Sunday should local circumstances or national guidelines change. “We always knew that people in our business were resilient,” says Scott Capstack, Principal in the Americas region, “but we have seen first-hand some incredibly clever and strategic approaches to ensure that fans and spectators remain safe and secure, from the moment they arrive at a venue until the moment they leave.”

Venues within a venue

Seat occupancy in the stadium during the Corona Pandemic

Populous, UK – SW15 2NU London

The longer that the pandemic affects all areas of the sporting world, the clearer it seems that venue operators are going to have to be flexible on both their capacities and their strategies for moving people around the internal and external spaces of their buildings.

Stadiums are designed for people, whether it is 5,000 or 100,000. There is an experience in being in a stadium, in close proximity to thousands of other fans, that is perhaps unique to sports and entertainment. The atmosphere of this environment is key. But how do you replicate this when the capacity is 30%, 20%, or even lower? The goal of the “venue within a venue” approach is to work with governmental guidelines and tracking and tracing guidelines to create a “stadium” experience whilst limiting contact between fans before, during, and after matches. As Tom Jones, Senior Principal in the EMEA region notes “This builds on our current approach of designing a range of spaces and experiences into stadiums, so we have already been able to identify many situations where all of the concessions and hospitality spaces within a stadium can be made accessible to smaller groups through strategic and digital wayfinding and temporary barriers.


Safety and health concepts for visiting venues during the Corona pandemic

Populous, UK – SW15 2NU London

All surveys point to keen demand to return to live sport, however governments are understandably cautious about the public health issues relating to the safety of groups of people meeting in stadiums. Hopefully the feedback and analysis of test events around the world can help to give confidence that stadiums can start to welcome fans back to venues in a safe and controlled way, with suitable protocols and procedures that can give confidence to players, officials and spectators.

One key question will be which of the changes that are required to respond to this pandemic are temporary, or whether they will be a marker for more permanent changes in the design and operation of stadiums. Naturally, there will be many more changes before we reach the end of this pandemic, but it will be interesting to see when crowds are welcomed back without restrictions, whether the in-stadium experience will look very different to how it was before?

Source: Populous, UK – SW15 2NU London / IAKS sb 5/2020
Populous Website

Richter Spielgeräte GmbH - playing in shopping centres worldwide

27 Sep 2019

Richter Spielgeräte GmbH- play in shopping centres worldwide

Large shopping centres are increasingly being equipped with exciting indoor and outdoor playgrounds. This makes perfect sense, as children are usually bored during extended shopping trips by their parents. In addition, the operators of the shopping centres try to increase the length of stay of their customers due to competition from the net. On the playgrounds, children of all ages can also climb, shimmy or slide while shopping, and it is a perfect alternative to offer children a place to let off steam in spite of bad weather.

Richter Spielgeräte GmbH

Mall of Arabia - Photo CONCETTO STUDIOS

Richter Spielgeräte GmbH, a handicraft company from Frasdorf, Upper Bavaria, which has been building high-quality playground equipment from larch wood for over 50 years and is now represented in over 40 countries worldwide, not only equips conventional playgrounds, but also designs playgrounds in and in front of shopping centres. This can be seen, for example, in the Egyptian capital Cairo, where the "Mall of Arabia" has an attractive children's playground with climbing equipment, play towers and slides. In Italy, three large Richter Shopping Mall playgrounds have been opened in the last three years, including "Il Castello Centro Commerciale" in Ferrara, the Arese shopping centre in Milan and the "Japigia Shopping Mall" in Bari. In Osaka, Japan, a very special playground, the "BørneLund Playville", was opened in 2019.

IKEA stores rely on the play value of Richter play equipment


More and more IKEA stores are also relying on the renowned play value of Richter equipment. The play construction specially designed for the spacious entrance area of the IKEA branch in Bayonne, France, is something very special. The installation with the theme "In the Trees" consists of a total of eleven colourfully painted boxes mounted on different levels and equipped with different window openings, net roofs and platform floors. The accesses are connected by climbing nets, tunnels and ladder elements. Special highlights are the Skywalk, which consists of a net tunnel, and the 18-metre-long tunnel slide, with which you can descend from a lofty height. The "Mega Khimki" shopping mall is located on a spacious site in Moscow's city centre. In addition to various restaurants and shops, there is also a cinema and an indoor playground in the immediate vicinity of the IKEA stores. The wooden construction, which was designed by the Moscow architecture firm AFA and implemented together with Richter Spielgeräte, consists of two stylized "trees" with several branches on which several little houses sit. On this spruce wood structure you can climb, hide, experience a feeling of height, but still feel safe thanks to the closed rope and net constructions. The visibility of the children through the climbing nets is particularly important for the parents in the crowds of this huge shopping centre. And for those children who don't yet dare to go to or onto the tree houses, various small houses offer creative possibilities for deeper role-playing.

About Richter Spielgeräte GmbH

Hilde Richter Spielgeräte considers the provision of play spaces to be a social necessity. Above all it is children who need play for the development of their personalities; however also young people and adults find relaxation and pleasure in play.

The range of product lines offers you equipment for every age group. Following the principle “as much play value as possible – as much safety as necessary” the company create play offers with an appropriate risk – a level at which children and young people can play in a self-determined way.

To the website of Richter Spielgeräte GmbH

Source: Richter Spielgeräte GmbH / IAKS sb 4/2019

Polytan artificial turf from renewable raw material

9 Sep 2019

Synthetic turf for hockey sustainably produced by Polytan

Poligras Tokyo GT is the name of the new synthetic turf system for hockey that has been developed by Polytan as official Global Supplier to the FIH (International Hockey Federation) for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Not only is the dark-blue playing field faster than ever before, but the turf fibres also consist predominantly of a bio-based synthetic from Braskem. The hockey players at Crefelder HTC are delighted with the world's first Poligras Tokyo GT, which was installed at the Gerd Wellen hockey facility in Krefeld in September 2018.

For the final round of the "Final Four 2019" in May 2019, the club, the city and the state have jointly invested around 500,000 Euro in a new hockey pitch. The choice for the new pitch fell on a Polygras Tokyo GT, developed by Polytan for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan. Club manager Robert Haake on the new synthetic turf: "Poligras Tokyo GT is currently the best hockey turf in the world and we are delighted to be the first ever venue where it has been installed." What's more, he anticipates that the blue base will exert a strong pull on other teams.

Synthetic turf achieves improved environmental balance

Synthetic turf achieves improved environmental balance

The Poligras Tokyo GT turf achieves a better environmental balance by using the bio-based plastic I’m greenTM by Braskem, the world market leader in this field. Renewable raw materials make up 60 per cent of the polyethylene (PE) base material for the filaments. It is possible to increase this proportion to 100 per cent PE base material, but at a higher cost. As was shown during testing, not only does the new material improve the eco-balance of the synthetic turf, it also optimises the playing qualities of the surface: the ball roll distance increases by up to 25 per cent compared with the predecessor product. This promises to make games of hockey even faster and more dynamic, with even more precise moves.

The PolyBase GT elastic layer is the most recent arrival in the Green Technology product family of Polytan. The product PolyBase GT owes its sustainability to a newly developed binder for the permanently elastic bonding of granules whose manufacture produces lower CO2 emissions.

Hockey synthetic turf captivates with its blue pitch colour

Hockey synthetic turf captivates with its blue pitch colour

Quite apart from the ecological aspects and improved playing qualities, the blue colour of the new Poligras Tokyo GT synthetic hockey pitch in Krefeld is also a winner. The blue playing surface has been all but standard practice at top-flight hockey competitions since the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It sharpens the contrast with the yellow hockey ball and makes it easier to follow the progress of play. This benefits players, spectators and, above all, television viewers. Crefelder HTC has even designed a playing field that exceeds the required dimensions of 100 x 60 yards (91.4 x 55 m) for the purposes of television coverage, which means LED perimeter systems can also be set up for television broadcasts.

About Polytan GmbH

To make the optimal surface for sporting success – that has been the ideal pursued by Polytan since 1969. With a constant eye on the latest findings in the field of sports medicine, the specialist in outdoor sports surfaces is continuously refining its synthetic surfaces and synthetic turf systems. Today's synthetic turf pitches not only feel like real grass, for example, but they also have excellent playing qualities. High-quality synthetic surfaces now range from shock-absorbing soft-impact surfaces and multi-functional all-weather pitches all the way to high-speed surfaces for international athletics events. As well as developing, manufacturing and fitting its own sports surfaces, the spectrum of services provided by Polytan also includes line markings, repairs, cleaning and maintenance. All products meet current national and international standards and are duly certified by international sports federations such as FIFA, FIH, World Rugby and IAAF.

To the Polytan Website

About Braskem

With a human-oriented global vision of the future, Braskem strives every day to improve people’s lives by creating sustainable solutions with chemicals and plastics. Braskem is the largest producer of thermoplastic resins in the Americas and the leading producer of biopolymers in the world, creating more environmental-friendly, intelligent and sustainable solutions through chemicals and plastics. Braskem exports to clients in approximately 100 countries and operates 41 industrial units, which are located in Brazil, United States, Germany and Mexico, the latter in partnership with the Mexican company Idesa. For more information, visit

To the Braskem Website

Source: Polytan GmbH/IAKS sb 2/2019

"IAAF" is now "World Athletics": World Athletics Federation has a new name

31 Mar 2020

© Polytan GmbH

The somewhat cumbersome "International Association of Athletics Federations" - IAAF for short - has become the more memorable World Athletics, with a new association logo. By making this change, the highly renowned world athletics association wants to "reach more young people and make athletics more appealing," says World Athletics President Sebastian Coe, explaining the decision.

Polytan, as a manufacturer of synthetic tracks from the very beginning, are also closely associated with the world athletics association: 25 per cent of all the IAAF or, as they are now known, World Athletics certified sports facilities come from the Sport Group Holding, which also includes the tartan track manufacturers Polytan , APT and AstroTurf.

Five Diamond League stadiums with Polytan

Polytan track in a stadium in Morocco

In total, the Sport Group Holding has installed World Athletics-certified synthetic surfaces on over 280 sports facilities worldwide, including five present or former IAAF Diamond League venues, which since 2020 has been renamed the Wanda Diamond League.

Polytan synthetic sports surfaces can be found in the following Diamond League athletics stadiums: Qatar SC stadium in Doha; in Sweden in Stockholm's olympic stadium ; in the Bislett stadium in Oslo, Norway; in the Moulay Abdallah stadium in Morocco; and in the Gateshead Stadium near Newcastle, Great Britain.

A world association with a long tradition: The IAAF was founded in Stockholm in 1912

The umbrella organisation for all national athletic sports federations was founded back in 1912 in Stockholm, Sweden, as the International Amateur Athletics Federation, or the IAAF for short. In 2001, the word "amateur" was dropped from the name because the IAAF Athletics has since established itself as a major player in professional sport on the world stage. Until it was renamed World Athletics in 2019, the official name of the International Athletics Federation was the International Association of Athletics Federations.

World Athletics: Organising international athletics meetings

World Athletics is responsible for organising international athletics competitions like the Diamond League and the IAAF World Championships. The umbrella organisation also administers the list of official world records and standardises the methods for measuring records. In this role, the International Association of Athletics Federations ensures the quality of the athletics venues by requiring them to be certified by an official body in order to hold official competitions

World Athletics certificates for competition sites

Stadium with IAAF certificate

The World Federation of Athletics differentiates between two categories: the World Athletics Class 1 Certificate and the World Athletics Class 2 Certificate. The first is required for stadiums hosting the IAAF World Championships or Olympic Games. For Wanda Diamond League meetings, continental, national or regional competitions Class 2 is sufficient.

And there is testing: For the Class 1 certificate, an accredited testing laboratory carries out on-site tests to determine whether the athletics facility has the required functional capabilities and whether all markings, dimensions and distances comply with World Athletics guidelines. The tartan tracks that are installed must have obtained a "World Athletics Product Approval" in advance.

For Class 2 certification, there is no need for the tartan surface to be quality-checked on site, as after installation only the correct dimensions of the system are checked. The synthetic surface quality is guaranteed by the "World Athletics Product Approval", and is not checked again after installation.

Diamond League meeting – a success story for Polytan (too)

Polytan running track blue

Sport Group Holding has successfully installed synthetic surfaces with IAAF certification at over 280 sports facilities to date. In 2019, 28 per cent of all Diamond League meetings took place on a Polytan running track , including the fastest 100-metre race of the year. Christian Coleman from the USA took just 9.85 seconds on the IAAF certified track in Oslo. In the 2019 Diamond League year, an extra 15 national records and 11 world best times were set on the World Athletics certified high-speed synthetic sports surfaces from Polytan.

Source: Polytan GmbH

IAKS expert talk on re-opening public pools

8 May 2020

How is the current situation with regard to COVID-19 restrictions, and what is important when preparing the re-opening of public pools? On 6 May, five members of the IAKS pool expert circle exchanged their ideas via a video-conference. Learn more from Yvette Audet from Otium Planning Group (Australia), Gar Holohan from Aura Holohan Group (Ireland), Haymo Huber from hsb group (Austria), Dr. Stefan Kannewischer from Kannewischer Management (Switzerland), and Marc Riemann from KölnBäder (Germany).

The videocast starts with an overview in these five countries. In which order will sports and leisure facilities re-open? What kind of rules / regulations (hygiene plan, protection concept) will have to be respected? What does this mean for swimming, bathing, water activities? (e.g. only one person per lane for sports swimming, number of persons per pool restricted, no water polo). In the second half, the experts exchanged their opinions on how can political decision makers benefit of such information? The discussion lead to the question how open air pool operators can manage the number of guests on the sunbathing lawn.

As the situation is quite dynamic, the comments of the speakers cannot be comprehensive and can change within a few days. The aim of the videocast is to share current knowledge and offer some learnings for your situation.

Source: IAKS

How can public swimming centres be gradually put back into operation?

30 Apr 2020

closed swimming pool because of COVID-19

We are currently witnessing the initial easing of the restrictions on outdoor and individual sports at sports grounds. However, there is as yet no political discussion of the re-opening of public swimming pools. If people are unable to practice activities in a controlled environment they will spend their leisure time in uncontrolled locations. This is where sports infrastructure can make an important contribution.

International travel will not be possible this year, or only to a limited extent. This will result in increased domestic tourism or in-situ tourism (holidays at home). Sports facilities and especially swimming pools can be a sensible and safe option here.

Unlike natural bathing areas, public swimming pools provide considerably more safety, as disinfection of the pool water with chlorine provides excellent protection from all bacteria and viruses – including coronaviruses. Infection via the water can thus be prevented.

Swimming pool experts from Germany and Switzerland have put forward proposals and recommendations on how to re-open public swimming pools in a phased procedure.

Source: IAKS Newsletter 10/2020

You can find more information on this topic here:

Sportfix®Clean against plastic pollution in water bodies

11 Sep 2019

Effective rainwater treatment retains microplasticity of artificial turf

Effektive Regenwasserbehandlung hält Mikroplastik von Kunstrasen zurück - Sportfix®Clean gegen Plastikverschmutzung in Gewässern

Artificial turf on sports fields provides an excellent playing surface. But use and drainage of this result in microplastics being flushed out into precipitation and surface waters. This is a challenge that Hauraton is overcoming with responsible environmental technology. The drainage specialist, based in the Baden region, has a safe and effective solution for filtering and retaining microplastic particles. In the Sportfix®Clean drainage system and channel filter with filter substrate Carbotec 60, particles down to the smallest size of 0.45 µm (0.00045 mm) are reliably removed by filtering.

With sports fields increasingly being equipped with artificial turf worldwide, this is highly relevant. The synthetic surfaces are very robust, require much less care than natural turf and offer higher quality standards for the safety of athletes. On modern surfaces, playing properties such as ball roll behaviour are very close to natural turf on sports pitches. The high useful life of around 1,700 hours per year compared to 400 to 800 hours for natural turf, a service life of at least ten years and greatly reduced maintenance effort are all benefits of artificial turf.

Mechanical wear creates tiny plastic particles

Water pollution by microplastics

Artificial turf surfaces are a type of plastic carpet. When playing on the surfaces, the EPDM granulate (the material used for infilled artificial turf) and the synthetic grass fibres are exposed to repeated strain. The mechanical wear from higher tread loads - as created during football or rugby - causes tiny particles or blades of artificial grass to break off. This amounts to 250 to 300 kg per year for modern sports fields. These particles need to be prevented from entering the natural water cycle, and finally the food chain, via rainwater draining off the pitch. Research over the last few years has shown that microplastics, which are now present in large quantities in the world’s oceans, have also already entered our food chain. The health consequences are not yet known. In order to prevent water pollution, the plastic particles must be filtered out of the collected surface water before it is passed on.

Surface filtration retains the smallest particles

Surface filtration retains the smallest particles

Sportfix®Clean channels offer a simple but extraordinarily simple solution. The channels do not only safely collect surface water flowing off the sports field contaminated with microplastics, but also larger microplastic parts transported to and collected along the edge of the pitch while playing. The water is collected and drained off in the channel run. At the same time, it is lead through the channel filter and filtered. The filter substrate used, Carbotec 60, is able to permanently retain the finest particles with sizes down to 0.45 µm.

Increased maintenance intervals offer the operator reliability

Drainage system Sportfix®Clean from Hauraton against water pollution

This channel filter functions according to the principle of surface filtration. It is therefore twice as effective: not only plastic parts are retained on the filter surface, but also pollutants such as heavy metals or hydrocarbons. The system has been proven to work reliably over very long periods. Long maintenance intervals and simple cleaning represent additional benefits. After many years of use, filter cake forms on the surface of the filter. This is stripped off during maintenance and then only the filter substrate that was removed is replenished.

Whether on a hockey field or football pitch – wherever artificial turf surfaces are used, drainage systems are also usually required. In addition to safe drainage, Sportfix®Clean channels also offer a simple way to filter the waste water and permanent retention of microplastics and pollutants. This economical filter system can also be installed at existing facilities.

Über die HAURATON GmbH & Co. KG

Hauraton is located in Rastatt, Germany, and has been operating successfully for 60 years. Today, Hauraton is one of the market leaders in the field of drainage and water management systems, with more than 20 branches worldwide and sales in more than 70 countries. Hauraton offers over 2,000 different products under the four headings Civils, Landscaping, Aqua and Sport with the range being continually extended. With the introduction of Recyfix recycled composite channels, the Side-Lock locking system and a detailed catalogue on the internet, Hauraton is considered the industry’s leading innovator. The reference list includes international projects such as the Formula 1 race track in Sochi, the Luzhniki-Stadium Moscow for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart and the Fraport Airport in Frankfurt.

To the website of HAURATON GmbH & Co. KG

Source: HAURATON GmbH & Co. KG / IAKS sb 2/2019


31 Jan 2020

Kate Tooke, ASLA, PLA, Associate Principal at Sasaki

As a part of the larger masterplan to reimagine its riverfront, the city of Cincinnati played host to an innovative and nuanced park project. The resulting design activated a wealth of multidisciplinary research and theory to create an engaging and challenging play space for children and families alike. Sasaki Associate Principal Kate Tooke explains the design concept for the park which invites curious visitors of all ages to play.

Urban planning: Smale Riverfront Park - adventure playground

As modern cities think about activating urban spaces, the form and function of public parks have great room for evolution. In the era of Olmsted, parks served largely a scenic purpose: providing pastoral views along sweeping, tree-lined routes. These turn-of-the-century parks were an idealized back yard for busy urban residents in need of an escape from the congestion and pollution of city life. Modern parks must balance these Olmsted-ian ideals of nature and passive recreation with the diverse and intensive programmatic needs of local residents that histori¬cally have been relegated to the front yards and front stoops. Our parks and plazas must now be our social gathering places as much as our quiet refuges. Now more than ever, as cities densify and the pressures of our digital world compound, our city parks must serve simultaneously as our front and our back yards – places where we experience serenity and pastoral beauty alongside community and programmed activity.

The city of Cincinnati, like so many post-industrial cities, has spent the last several decades redefining its relationship with its river: changing the narrative from aging brownfield to active recreational amenity. The resulting development of Smale Riverfront Park showcases how a modern public space can, through innovative design and programming, balance the functions of both front and back yard. Nowhere is this balance more evident than in the park’s playscapes, where a unique mix of climbing walls, boulders, bridges, logs, slide hillsides and interactive water features (rather than a standard plastic structure) invite curious visitors of all ages to play. It’s a space that seems a bit wild and a little risky, a place where the unexpected can happen. At the same time it offers the kind of front-porch experience that all city dwellers crave: flexible social space to connect, gather and play together.

Adventurous playscapes of this kind have already over¬taken generic plastic structures in many European cities in response to research on how children play and learn as well as the importance of healthy risk-taking, however, most American municipalities have been slower to adapt to the change. Yet the alternative tenor of adventure play is a natural fit for developing American cities that are in the process of reimagining and activating previously industrial land. Cincinnati’s Smale Riverfront Park shows how mixed-use gathering spaces are a perfect opportunity to incorporate playscapes that are far from standard in the United States.

The path of the project

Planning phases of the Smale Riverront Park

The making of the Smale Riverfront Park is a story of transformation that spans several decades. Back in the mid-1990s, most of the site was a brownfield along the banks of the working Ohio River. Like so many post-industrial riverfronts across the U.S., it was covered in parking and vacant industrial parcels that flooded regularly, with a four-lane highway running along the riverbank, divorcing the city from the water.

Following a 1999 district masterplan, which set high-level goals for development along the river, the city selected Sasaki to develop concept plans for over 32 acres of parkland, more than half of which sat within the floodplain. A team of landscape architects, urban planners and engineers conceived a multiphase approach, beginning by moving the highway to make room for the park. Five phases of the park are now complete, and design is beginning for the sixth phase.

The park’s dedicated playscapes – the Heekin Family/Grow Up Great Adventure Playscape and the P&G goVibrantscape – are both sited within the city’s floodplain. They opened together in the spring of 2015. Collectively they blur the traditional boundaries between park and playground: children and families enter the spaces fluidly from all directions, while play spills out into nearby lawns, paths, and the flexible area beneath the bridge abutment. Drawn by an array of additional attractions in the park overall, including a carousel, maze, swing benches and picnic areas, many families come to the area for a whole day of outdoor adventure and exploration.

Playscape origins and elements

Smale Riverfront Park - Piano

While the park’s 1999 masterplan had called generally for some kind of children’s playground to be included on the lower level by the river, it gave no specifics regarding placement or typology. The design team considered everything from standard playground equipment to simple sloped lawns, but bold ideas about creating a new breed of imaginative and active play space came to the forefront. By 2013, when the design began in earnest, there was consensus that the playgrounds would set a new standard. Inspired by recent visits to European playgrounds, the client team wanted “a place of adventure and challenge” that would depart from typical off-the-shelf playground components. At the same time, three important private funding sources – The Heekin Family, PNC Bank, and Proctor & Gamble – stepped forward, each committed specifically to supporting play areas that would inspire physical activity and exploration for children and families. The interest of the client to create an adventure-style playscape aligned with the goals of the funders, and together they formed a strong foundation for conceptual design.

Early sketches and studies of the PNC/Heekin Adventure Playscape drew inspiration from the site’s cultural and ¬environmental history. A valley emerged as a central organizing element, reminiscent of the way the river has carved the landscape over time. Two bridges over the valley evoke the river’s many crossings, especially the historic Roebling suspension bridge which bisects the Smale ¬Riverfront Park on its way to Kentucky. The materiality of the playscape drew heavily from the local area: the rock outcrops are built from large pieces of local sandstone, which also make up the abutments of the adjacent ¬Roebling Bridge, while most of the wood featuresthroughout the playscape are a rot-resistant native locust tree sourced from downed trees in other Cincinnati pub¬lic parks. An airborne play element in the shape of a pig called the “Oink-i-thopter” playfully echoes the city’s mascot, while evoking Cincinnati’s commercial and industrial roots.

Bringing research to the design process

A research-based process helped inform the layout and specific features of the PNC/Heekin Adventure Playscape. The design responded to Norwegian psychologist Ellen Sandsetter’s six categories of risky play. Elements like the slide, climbing walls, and bridges were designed to help parkgoers achieve feelings of great heights and rapid speeds, while small nooks in the rock outcrops and winding paths capture a sense of independent exploration, and mystery. Most of the elements incorporate some sense of danger – a foot could fall through the mesh of the rope bridge, a hand could slip at the top of the climbing wall – without actually being dangerous. Teri Hendy, a play consultant who specializes in alternative play environments, worked with the design team to ensure that each of the custom designed features met all the standards of the Public Playground Safety Handbook.

Although a definite focus of the PNC/Heekin Adventure playscape is to provide a physical outlet and challenge for children, the design team sought to incorporate other types of play as well. Using Sara Smilanski’s theory of four types of play, the group incorporated dramatic and constructive play in early design conversations. Fog misters evoke a sense of mystery and spark imaginative activities, while fossil-carved stones embedded into the rock outcrops promote a sense of discovery and wonderment.

Adding focused areas for constructive play proved to be the most difficult, since similar environments that include loose parts – like sand, water, or blocks – tend to cause concerns with maintenance costs and even fears over safety. The team solved this concern in design process for the P&G goVibrantscape by providing a place for children to manipulate water, without the sand. The water play map, which allows children to pump, dam and channel water in order to flood a miniature granite-relief version of the park, grew out of an intensive process with Richter Spielgerate, a German manufacturer of alternative playground equipment. The two parties traded sketches back and forth for months, as the design grew from a simple water basin and runnel into an engineer’s paradise.


The two playscapes in the Smale Riverfront Park were an immediate hit when they opened in the spring of 2015. As excitement built, Sasaki became interested in understanding how children and families used the park, as well as how the park was performing from a safety and maintenance perspective. A research team traveled to Cincinnati armed with clipboards, cameras and copious data collection sheets to log more than 45 observation hours in the park and conduct more than 100 interviews. The team conducted full counts of people in the playscapes throughout the day, tracked individual children’s journeys, conducted interviews with visitors and stakeholders, and listened intensely in different areas, writing down all comments and conversations in each ten minute segment. Full immersion in the park, along with the more formal methods, brought new perspectives to light.

Assessments overwhelmingly showed the park achieving the vision of an adventurous and challenging gathering place, while reframing notions about how people and energy flow through a space like the Smale Riverfront. Overall 88% of people (children and adults) observed were engaged in active play, including physical and adventurous play, dramatic play and constructive play.

Perhaps the most valuable take-away from the post-occupancy data is that the playscapes at Smale have a high level of intergenerational integration. At most standard playgrounds, there is a simple pattern: children play on the plastic structure, while parents mill about on the outskirts. Conversely, at Smale the densities of children and adults were relatively even across all play zones, and visitors of all ages were equally active. Based on our observations, this was happening for several inter-related reasons: the fun is infectious and inspired adults to join, the appearance of risk makes some caregivers hover close, and finally, collaboration is necessary to make some of the features work.

Today, just four years after the park’s playscapes originally opened, they seem as though they have always been here, and they have developed a life of their own. As designers, funders, clients, and stakeholders, we all dream big about a park’s potential, but in the end it is the children, families and community that really give it dimension. How people of all ages use the playscape, what they love and what they neglect – these are critical drivers of the park’s future. Sasaki continues to work with the city of Cincinnati on Phase 6 of the park’s implementation, and in that role maintains a close connection to the ongoing evolution of the playscapes.

At the same time, both the design process and the post-occupancy evaluation of Smale Riverfront Park have grown a life beyond Cincinnati. Lessons learned and inspiration drawn from the data have informed Sasaki’s design work on parks, plazas, waterfronts and playscapes nationwide, particularly at recent and developing projects in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and Raleigh. In the modern era of public spaces that must simultaneously serve as our front and back yards, integrating play into program in a way that feels spontaneous, natural and contextual is more critical than ever. If a successfully activated public realm could be measured in shrieks of delight, then great playscapes like the ones at Smale Riverfront Park are off the charts.

To the website of Sasaki Associates, Inc.

Source: Kate Tooke, ASLA, PLA, Associate Principal at Sasaki / IAKS sb 4/2019

IAKS Future Trends 2020

15 Jul 2019

IAKS Future Trends 2020 for sports and leisure facilities

With these future trends, IAKS wishes to outline important developments for professionals and non-professionals involved in sports and leisure facilities around the world. These propositions describe aspects and trends observed by experts and do not claim to be exhaustive. Their order does not reflect their relative importance, and some of them are contradictory. Not surprising, as our world has become more complex and there is no one correct solution. The various needs and developments at a location have to be grasped if a sustainable solution for a specific sports and leisure facility is to be arrived at.

Autor: IAKS International Association for Sports and Leasure Facilities

Public space as leisure facility

Public space as leisure facility

The individualisation of our society and new ways of working with blurring boundaries between work and leisure are leading to stronger demand for individual sports like swimming, jogging and cycling. These are often performed in public spaces that are not limited by opening hours, e.g. cycling tracks without crossroads like the idea of skycycle in London.

This calls for multifunctional and safe public spaces. At the same time, workplaces need to integrate facilities for physical activities. Another opportunity is to open sports facilities (especially sports halls) to the individual, e.g. the Danish idea of sports halls as “indoor commons“.

Growing importance of multifunctionality

The individualisation of society is also encouraging the emergence of many new sports, often with a life-style component. As not all of these sports can have their own facility, existing sports and leisure facilities have to become increasingly multifunctional.

Infrastructure for gentle activities

Infrastructure for gentle activities

Sports infrastructure has to cater for the possibility of “gentler“ physical activities. The increasing inactive and overweight population will not return to an active and healthy lifestyle by adopting traditional sports. They need to be gently activated with physical activities in combina-tion with motivating leisure offerings, e.g. indoor “playgrounds” for kids in sports halls or “der bewegte Schulweg” in Salzburg (playground equipment on the way to school).

Also, the increasing importance of health (including mental health / stress reduction) in physical activities is encouraging holistic, popular, life-style "sports". New types of sports and leisure are gaining in importance, e.g. yoga and Pilates. Sports and leisure infrastructure has to adapt to this rising demand.

Expanded accessibility and an ageing society

Expanded accessibility and an ageing society

The original conception of accessibility as meeting the needs of wheelchair users has expanded significant-ly in the last few years. This has been driven by demographic change and higher life expectancy. New requirements for sports and leisure facilities have arisen, e.g. concerning stairs, lighting, signage and loud-speakers. Their design should be inclusive for all user groups.

Our ageing society is giving senior citizens greater prominence in the sports community. They also require new types of sports and ways of practising existing sports, e.g. Nordic walking, pickleball, mall walking, dancing and lawn bowling.

Economic challenges

The constraints on public funding call for a prioritisation of subsidies, long-term business plans and a change in usage rather than the construction of new facilities. In competition for public funding, sports and leisure infrastructure has to communicate its “public value” (also known as the “social return on investment”) to government and other stakeholders and develop sustainable business models.

New projects are often executed in partnership models with commercial companies and with new revenue models. Financial efficiency can also be increased in multicomponent facilities with profitable life-style sports and unprofitable traditional sports, e.g. adding leisure elements or a fitness club to a competition pool.

Developing countries face the challenges of offering and maintaining sports facilities at all and ensuring affordable admission to sports and leisure facilities.

Diverse development of market segments

Diverse development of market segments

The further increasing commercialisation of spectator / media sports is resulting in an earlier separation of competitive and mass sports that is often accompanied by privately financed, single-purpose spectator facilities like soccer stadiums.

In addition, commercial life-style sports normally have privately financed sports facilities, e.g. fitness clubs. This trend leaves municipal and school facilities behind with the unprofitable sport segments, e.g. competition pools and classical sports halls.

Urban and suburban sports and leisure facilities

Urban and suburban sports and leisure facilities

Urbanisation, firstly, restricts the space available for sports facilities, such that they have to be stacked on other buildings or reduce their footprint. Secondly, urbanisation eliminates open space. Therefore, open space needs to become more multifunctional and allow physical activities of many kinds, e.g. Superkilen in Copenhagen. Playgrounds for kids are important for encouraging children to exercise.

In suburban areas, the social function of sports and lei-sure facilities is important. They have to be multifunctional and serve as a meeting point for the community. This is only the case if the facility integrates all stakeholders and is therefore "close to the people".

Sports facilities play also an important role in social work and youth delinquency prevention, e.g. Street Mekka in Copenhagen.

Safe facilities

Safe facilities

The threat of terrorism and new levels of hooliganism and vandalism call for measures in spectator and sports facilities such as entrance controls, video surveillance, security teams and sharing information between organisations.

The higher liability of sports facilities towards their users raises the bar for building construction (permits) and makes licensed products more important.

Impact of climate change

Impact of climate change

Climate change places a new focus on ecological sustainability. This necessitates construction materials with verifiable information as well as low energy and resource use during operation, e.g. heat recovery, combined heat and power generation.

In some regions, climate change calls for more protection of outdoor facilities from the sun and rain. Air pollution creates new challenges and imposes limitations on outdoor activities.

Multimedia facilities

Multimedia facilities

The omnipresence of digital technology makes the digital accessibility of sports and leisure facilities indispensable, before and during visits of facilities. Furthermore, virtual reality (combining the real and the virtual) will make inroads into sport. First steps in this direction are Wii sports and Pokemon Go. Another development is increasing demand for sports tracking / performance measurement.

International harmonisation of demand

Globalisation, the internet and people’s increasing mobility are making the expectations of sports and leisure facilities more uniform. Users therefore gravitate towards international best-practice facilities. Global trends should therefore be followed more closely, with the growing harmonisation of international quality standards.

At the same time, migration is encouraging cultural diver-sity within countries. New sports and ways of practising sport can emerge.

IAKS International Association for Sports and Leasure Facilities
Eupener Str. 70
50933 Köln
Tel. +49 221 1680 230
Fax +49 221 1680 2323
Write an e-mail
To the IAKS website