Robinson Island – a very special playground

During the Child in the City World Conference in Vienna, there were a number of interesting field trips to child-friendly places across the city. In this article, Simon Walter who was the tour guide recounts what took place. 

In the two field trips to, Robinson playground (Robinson-Insel) we basically made a tour through the 7000 square meters sized adventure playground also known as„ ‘a tiny bit of wilderness’ in the heart of Vienna. The big difference between the two field trips was that on Monday we could go around in a beautiful but empty space designed together with children and youngsters, while on Wednesday the trip was during the regular opening times of the playground, so there were children playing everywhere while we were discovering the place.

Photos © Wiener Kinderfreunde / © Peter Korp
Inside one of the rooms of Adventure Playground “Robinson-Insel”. Photos © Wiener Kinderfreunde / © Peter Korp

Generally what the participants saw is quite hard to put in words. Robinson playground is a special place because it is not “just” a classical adventure playground but a playground that combines constructing and building with the spirit of nature/environmental education and a holistic approach towards the living together of children with the natural environment there. The place is an attractive place to be and live there for children and the animals that live there. The visitors have seen the balance of designed and undersigned spaces, the many buildings and constructions that were planned built in lots of projects together with children. But whatever I write here does not really cover the atmosphere and beauty of this unique place.

This site is so important for a child-friendly city because it is one of the rare spaces for children where they can within an urban environment experience nature “in all its diversity”. This environmental approach together with a very radical participatory way of designing the playground together with children makes it a playground that is “owned” and created by children. So it is not very surprising why the question “Why is there only one playground like this?” was repeated many times by a lot of different participants of the field trips.

Simon Walter and some of the field trip participants. Photo © Wiener Kinderfreunde / © Peter Korp

Author: Simon Walter

Simon Walter, General Secretary of Rote Falken, Vienna. For the last 15 years Simon Walter is active in Falken- movements. Starting in Germany being active as group leader, he came to Austria in 2008 and got active in Rote Falken here. He held different positions in the organisations over time and has been International Secretary of Rote Falken Austria for seven years. Now he is employed as administrative worker at Rote Falken Vienna and organises together with a voluntary team on-going activities and major projects of the children and youth organisation.

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