Ujirany / New Directions Landscape Arcitects: Teleki Square is located in Budapest’s centre’s socially most diverse and colorful areas, in one of the city’s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Following a successful EU tender for funding the renovation of the square, an inclusive community-based planning process was initiated that would result in what is now a barren, ill-reputed, crime-ridden and functionless space becoming a vital neighbourhood centre in a part of the city desperately lacking outdoor recreational and social opportunities.
The community-based reinvention of Teleki Square aims to show that interventions which promote cooperation, interaction and participation, – through which strong local community identity can be developed -, play an increasingly important role in societies of today, taking active part in creating lively, livable cities. In case of the Teleki Square Community Park the inclusive planning process was essential in creating an inclusive design. Its’ future now is imagined as one which is full of life and frames different activities that will encourage people to interact.
Apart from the realization of the inclusive design concept, one of the most important outcomes of the process based design was the formation of the Teleki Square Association which now takes active part in the present and future activation of the area. The residents already took part in the organization of numerous public art events, developed their own programs such as the Garden Party to celebrate the end of the design phase, and even organized a Christmas Party on the site. These cultural activities already show that they can be effective tools in place-making and strongly contribute to changing and developing future perspectives of the community.
The process based community project -in its approach not so widely used yet in Hungary- tries to be a positive example in underpinning that community planning helps participatory citizenship to arise and enables locals to take action in their lives to effect changes in their immediate environment. It also tries to show that envolving locals in the design process plays an important role in exploring local identity and in creating socially inclusive spaces, hence gives base to social, hence physical sustainability. The Association, which takes the role of intermediary between the residents and the municipality, also organizes capital funds in order to win money for eg. the realization of the multifunctional community stage project, which will be realized within a community workshop, alike to the community garden.
Overall it can be said that the locals and the site have already become an active, integral part of the quarter’s regeneration process, helping the social aspects of the rehabilitation. Hopefully this process in time -thanks to the local involvement- will truly initiate a meaningful engagement between people and space, consequently helping the creation of an open and a culturally richer and socially embedded environment to arise.
We divided this triangular square for further triangles by the help of the inner road-system, and the following functions has been situated inside them:
1. The Forum-Vestibule
is outside of the fence, located in the corner of the square. This part functions as the foreground of the park, the main entrance can be reached here. The most emblematic element of this part is an outdoor clock.
2. Event place
is just behind the main entrance, yet inside the fence. Its primal element is a wooden stage framed with integral benches, and with a partial roof. This part is for entartainment and also is a meeting point with the single benches under the trees.
3. Daytime Forum
is organically connected with the Event place. A large stairs place is found here, which functions as the auditorium of the wooden stage, and it continues in a declivous sunbathing lawn on the other side. Five concrete information columns, showing the history and the process of the reinvention of the square, are placed here.
4. The Ornamental Garden and the Reading(room) Garden
are placed in the following triangle, irregular shaped flower beds, benches and a little fountain can be found here. Some parts of the flower beds will be planted by the community, and also they will mantain them in the future. The other part is the shaded resting and reading garden, located on the most woody area of the park. Benches, outdoor chess tables and shady ground vegetation are planned around here.
5. Play(room) Garden
has four different areas: Garden for aged 1-5, Children’s Garden, Hilly Garden and Teenage Corner. The Garden for Aged 1-5 is located in the central, mostly protected spot of this part, enclosed by fountain grass and lavender. The organizing element is a pier-like wooden build-up, which frames the two sandboxes. Swing, slide and a roundabout can be found here. The Children’s Garden is also tightly connected to the ‘pier’. Three large-scale wooden frames, containing a dringking-fountain, a flower-bed and a sandbox for children with disabilities, and a children’s stage is planned here. Two composters are also placed here, they can be suitable for holding community classes. The Hilly Garden is for older kids, this is a grand lawn structured by short hills (60-150 cm height), with playground elements (mettalic slide, nest-swing). Sorrowfully a great element, the planned canopytrail-like kids’ wooden castle among the trees, can’t be realized because the costs are under narrow circumstances, so the non-governmental organisation is intended to get hold of the proper amount through a suitable tender later. The Teenage Corner is a system created of pallets and concrete elements, where teenagers can meet, chat and get together freely. The renovated old ping-pong table has been relocated here, the concrete spot with the low concrete wall is painted like the interior of a living room, and the space can be furnished with the pallets.
6. The Dog Park Areas
The community highly requires two fenced and separeted dog park areas, preferably far from the mansions. The old drinking-fountain, located here, was renovated, and the renewed benches from the park have also been placed here. The dogs can play with old tires, and bushes and trees were planted here.
The community-based reinvention of Teleki Square, Budapest
Location: Teleki Laszlo Square, Budapest, Hungary
Design: Ujirany / New Directions Landscape Arcitects (Dominika Tihanyi, Orsolya B. Orosz, Arpad Kovacs, Gabor Szohr), local
Expert of community-based planning: Kristin Faurest
Client: Municipality of Jozsefvaros, 8th district of Budapest
Design year: 2013
Year of construction: 2014
Area: 14 000 m2
Budget: 456 000 euro
Photos: New Directions Landscape Architects, Tamas Bujnovszky, Tibor Vermes, Gyula Nyari