The territory of the forest park is a natural monument and a part of a unique landscape inside a growing urban periphery. Citizens actively use this territory for recreation, which often causes damage to the environment due to lack of appropriate infrastructure.

The landscaping project began as an initiative. The Ogorod team created the landscaping concept on their own as a part of their project called “Ogorozheno”, together with architects from NNGASU and project group of HSE marketing department experts.

This project has become one of the first initiative participatory projects in Russia. Its core idea is the participation of all stakeholders (citizens, administration, experts, businesses) in developing urban territories. 600 people took part in the research, which became the basis of the preliminary concept of the development of the territory. Solutions chosen to be included in the concept required minimal construction and maintenance costs, but created an impulse for functional and infrastructural development of the forest park. We published the results in a local newspaper called “Seledka”, and invited citizens and experts to a meeting to discuss and comment on the concept.

In 2018 a new stage of the project began, including infrastructural studies and a new series of discussions with citizens. As a result, a preliminary landscaping concept was created. The project got funded and we continued our work, making a brief for the developer, who then prepared submittals.

Currently, the first stage of the landscaping has been finished – an embankment of one of the three lakes. The second stage began in 2019.The development idea of the forest park is “Nature + Culture”.

The goal of this landscaping project is creating an infrastructure for comfortable recreation while preserving the unique nature of this territory. Shelokovsky Hutor is a part of a forest where rare species of birds and animals live. There’s no territories like this in Nizhny Novgorod anymore.

The territory of the forest park is used by several groups of citizens: sport enthusiasts, nature lovers, families with kids, tourists, and the general public. The concept suggests all-season scenarios of using the territory. The main functional areas are located close to the lakes and include sports, beach, technical, children’s and other zones

Special technical and design options were used in the project to minimize the impact on the environment. To preserve the trees’ root systems, some pathways were made of wood and mounted on screw piles, point-based on the local relief. Wood is the main material for urban furniture, playground and sports equipment, flooring, pontoons. All elements have natural colours.

Pathway system is made of wooden flooring and pebbles. In places used by both pedestrians and service vehicles, tracks will be made of concrete lawn grids filled with small-fraction gravel.Urban furniture and lighting are to be installed alongside pathways. Playgrounds for kids of all ages, changing cabins, first aid stations, lifeguard towers, WC modules, sunbeds, all of them accessible, will be placed at the beach zones. Throughout the park, navigational and informational stands were added, telling visitors about the flora and fauna of the park, rules of behaviour near the water, the importance of being respectful to nature.’

The project has a limited budget, so we had to look for optimal solutions, such as using local materials and working with local businesses. By joint efforts of administration, contractors and local experts, a comfortable space is being formed for people to relax in harmony with nature. Hundreds of people from all over the city gather here on summer weekends. The forest park has become a city-wide point of attraction.

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