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2018/10/15

The Sensory Garden has been renewed

The Sensory Garden in the Városliget, Hungary's first such spot offering opportunities for relaxation and recreation specifically for the blind and visually impaired, has been renewed.  This brings to a close the first phase of the Liget Budapest Project's development of the park. On 15 October 2018, the International White Cane Safety Day, the Hungarian National Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired started to test the special area of the park, so that the renewed Garden of the Blind, with a unique and expanded skill-developing playground, could start to welcome the visually impaired shortly after the test run.

Operating in the area around the park are numerous institutions and organisations assisting the blind and visually impaired, who make active use of the garden.  While there are many institutions and organizations for the blind and partially sighted who actively use the garden, it no longer met 21st-century requirements for accessibility.  Thanks to the Liget Budapest Project, though, The Sensory Garden has been completely renewed inside and out: the grounds have been made accessible and furnished with modern amenities, with the flora also rehabilitated and the playground and its special equipment renovated and expanded.

"The delivery of the special part of the park concludes the first phase of the biggest garden and landscaping renovation in Hungarian history in the Városliget, which has also involved the rebirth of the area around the Museum of Fine Arts, new sport facilities being developed based on the needs of the local schools, as well as the opening of Budapest's most complex dog adventure park, which has increased the amount of green space in the Liget by half a hectare," said Dr Benedek Gyorgyevics, CEO of Városliget Zrt., which is coordinating the developments.  

The garden will remain enclosed, with the blind and visually impaired guaranteed unrestricted access.  In addition to preserving the earlier basic structure, the radial and circular paths have also been rebuilt with special pavement that helps with orientation, with a new interior pathway added as well.  
To replace the demolished wooden building, which was in poor condition, an accessible building specifically geared to the needs of the blind was erected and fitted out with similarly accessible toilets.  The existing fountains, ornamental pools and play surfaces are also being renovated and will soon be ready for use.  The raised plant beds have been fitted with railings, painted in easily recognisable colours and embossed with Braille in order to aid navigation and provide information about the fragrant flora.  Prior to the renovations, Városliget Zrt. coordinated with several non-governmental organisations and incorporated their suggestions into the final plans almost without exception.

“In order for The Sensory Garden to fully meet the special needs of its users, we engaged in numerous discussions with Garten Studio, the firm that won the tender to renew the Liget’s landscape architecture, and their colleagues at Városliget Zrt.  The result of all this was the creation of a part of the park that is safe, modern and in full compliance with the requirements for accessibility, the only place of its kind in Budapest offering opportunities for recreation to the blind and visually impaired,” is how Dr Sándor Nagy, president of the Hungarian Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted, assessed the renovation.

The playground and athletic facilities were situated in the garden’s western part, thus locating the garden’s noisier functions, such as the special table tennis tables, skittles, swings and other play equipment,  further from the building and the adjacent relaxation zone. The playground also has an area marked out with coloured rubber paving that houses a sandpit with musical games also installed at the exterior, along with a few recreational amenities developed especially for children with multiple disabilities.

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The garden will remain enclosed, with the blind and visually impaired guaranteed unrestricted access.  In addition to preserving the earlier basic structure, the radial and circular paths have also been rebuilt with special pavement that helps with orientation, with a new interior pathway added as well.  
To replace the demolished wooden building, which was in poor condition, an accessible building specifically geared to the needs of the blind was erected and fitted out with similarly accessible toilets.  The existing fountains, ornamental pools and play surfaces are also being renovated and will soon be ready for use.  The raised plant beds have been fitted with railings, painted in easily recognisable colours and embossed with Braille in order to aid navigation and provide information about the fragrant flora.  Prior to the renovations, Városliget Zrt. coordinated with several non-governmental organisations and incorporated their suggestions into the final plans almost without exception.

“In order for The Sensory Garden to fully meet the special needs of its users, we engaged in numerous discussions with Garten Studio, the firm that won the tender to renew the Liget’s landscape architecture, and their colleagues at Városliget Zrt.  The result of all this was the creation of a part of the park that is safe, modern and in full compliance with the requirements for accessibility, the only place of its kind in Budapest offering opportunities for recreation to the blind and visually impaired,” is how Dr Sándor Nagy, president of the Hungarian Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted, assessed the renovation.

The playground and athletic facilities were situated in the garden’s western part, thus locating the garden’s noisier functions, such as the special table tennis tables, skittles, swings and other play equipment,  further from the building and the adjacent relaxation zone. The playground also has an area marked out with coloured rubber paving that houses a sandpit with musical games also installed at the exterior, along with a few recreational amenities developed especially for children with multiple disabilities.
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