Candidate – Hungary

Submission by: District Council of the 13th district of Budapest

Project name: Vizafogó Park

Short description

The creation of Vizafogó Park in the 13th district was part of the District Council’s integrated urban development policy. When initiating the project one of the important factors was to be an inspiration for its surroundings. The project with the quality and diversity of plants presents a scheme to be followed. Effects of its rainwater management and temperature moderating action is immediately felt upon entering the park. Regulations governing the park provide a serene environment for everyone. Local people are proud that their needs were assessed, and their feedback was taken into consideration when the park was designed. The new public park provides recreational opportunities to several generations of the district’s inhabitants in accordance with the requirements of integrated design.

Social cohesion

The design tender that was announced for the creation of a statue was won by János Lestyán Goda’s submission entitled „Fishes”. The statue has become one of the defining features of the artificial lake. A 50 square meter pavilion was built along the main walkway that surrounds the lake – it includes a café, snack bar and public washrooms with diaper change station. A deck overhanging the lake was built from the service pavilion. A small „forest” or grove consisting of 59 mature deciduous and 4 evergreen trees and flowers was planted on the northern side of the park. Other features of the park: 31 bike stands, 2 drinking fountains, 24 benches, 9 deck chairs, 17 garbage bins, 2 foosball tables (table soccer), 2 Ping-Pong tables, and an outdoor fitness park and jogging tracks with rubber mats. Visafogó park is open from 6 am to 10 pm, thereby providing recreational opportunities to people of various age groups and interests.


When designing the green areas, trees, shrubs and perennial beds we selected species that are well adapted to city environments and require relatively low maintenance. A total of 3200 shrubs, 9200 perennials, 7200 decorative grasses, 850 ornamental bulbous plants, and more than 110 evergreen ornamental plants were planted. A special and unique characteristic of the park is its centrally located 1.5 m deep artificial pond, which provides a visual and experiential feature with its permanent aquatic plants, thus increasing biodiversity. The lake ecosystem was designed to be basically self-sustaining. The lake in the park is unique in the district with its 938 sq m water surface – it has become the favourite spot for visitors. Wetland plants introduced along its shore provide a natural experience. Ducks have already moved in.

Economic factors

The mechanical equipment of the lake circulates the water and uses water saving techniques. The biodiversity and wide tolerance of the plant population was designed to include several layers of vegetation and a high proportion of foliage. In order to minimise operational costs self-sustaining vegetation was selected. In order to reduce the cost of watering the rainwater collection system includes diverting rainwater from the pavement in the direction of the green area, which waters the plants and ensures water retention. Nevertheless, an automatic irrigation system was also installed in the park. In order to reduce water use from the network, the 4900 sq m greenery in the park is watered from ground water, which is provided by two new wells. A 50 sq m pavilion with a deck extending over the lake was built along the main walkway that circles the lake. A property lease tender was announced by the Council and the pavilion was leased to the applicant with the most favourable terms and conditions. The monthly rental fee is a source of income for the Council.


Earlier the area was intended for development, but the Council decided to reclassify the area in order to allow land use that creates a more livable environment for people in the neighbourhood and is more favourable form the point of view of climate strategy and rainwater management. The 938 sq m surface of the lake has a significant influence on microclimate and creates better thermal comfort in the summer months. Naturally the newly planted trees in the center of the park are going to grow, however the trees on the edges of the park are mainly older trees that were already on the site. These provide significant shade for the walkway below them and the visitors passing by. The colour of most pavements is between wheat colour and grey, which compared to darker pavements, is less heat absorbent. When designing the park ecological rainwater drainage and harvesting was considered. The rain falling on pavements is diverted in the direction of the green area, thus watering plants and ensuring water retention. Precipitation from the roof of the pavilion is collected and directed into the pond, thus compensating for evaporation. During a longer period without precipitation the water level can be maintained by providing extra water from the drinking fountain. The water level of the lake is controlled by an automatic water level indicator.

Wellbeing of visitors/users

A 50 sq m pavilion housing a café, snack bar and free public washrooms was built on the South side of the lake. It has a deck overhanging the lake with outdoor seating – visitors can admire the gorgeous view of the lake while drinking their coffee, soft drinks and eating some snacks – this is truly a space for community life. Public lighting is provided by 35 light posts with classic lights. The posts have also been equipped with adjustable cameras, WIFI, and loudspeakers. Moreover 2 smart benches have been installed in the park. Visitors are allowed to step on the grass in the park but are asked to take good care of it. Altogether 31 bike stands were installed at key locations, as well as 2 drinking fountains, 24 benches with wooden seats, 17 garbage bins. Visitors can use 9 comfortable deck chairs along the lakeshore for relaxation. The park provides many opportunities for active rest and for sport activities. An outdoor fitness park with rubber mats was built on the Northern side of the park and 2 foosball tables (table soccer) and 2 Ping-Pong tables were installed. The jogging tracks around the park were also built with rubber mats.

Selection, origin and quality of the products and materials

The construction materials used reflect durability. The park is characterized by uniform use of quality materials: primary, secondary and tertiary pathways were created. The main pathways are covered with solid paving blocks with natural stone edges, the secondary pathways are made of small flagstones lined with sunken metal plates, while the tertiary pathways were built using small natural stepping stones placed further apart with grass planted in the gaps.
Benches and deck chairs were created using tropical wood to make them more weatherproof.
The rubber surface of the running track has a wear layer (EPDM) and was created using thermoplastic technology.
As far as plants are concerned 59 mature deciduous and 4 evergreen trees, a total of 3200 shrubs, about 9200 perennials, 850 ornamental bulbous plants, more than 110 evergreen ornamental plants and 7200 decorative grasses were planted. Healthy specimen of the existing trees, that have provided a pleasant view the inhabitants of the area for a long time were kept.

The main species of the current trees:

  • Ash-leaved maple (Acer negundo) and Field maple (Acer campestre)
  • Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
  • Szent István linden (Tilia Szent István)
  • Plane tree (Platanus x hispanica)

Mixed shrubs, ornamental grasses and perennial plants:

  • Japanese Anemone (Anemone x hybrida)
  • Jerusalem sage (Phlomis tuberosa)
  • Fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides)
  • Turkish sage (Phlomis russeliana)
  • Lindheimer’s beeblossom (Gaura lindhelmeri ’Gambit White’)
  • Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  • Tall verbena(Verbena bodnariensis)
  • Anise Hyssop (Agastache ’Purple Haze’)
  • Orange yarros (Achillea millefolium ’Terracotta’)
  • Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis brachytricha)
  • Cranesbill (Geranium ’Dreamland’)

The Vizafogó Park project allowed for creating the basis for “smart city” technology. This is what makes it possible to capture, store, view video recordings, and to save it for our partner organizations. This equipment consists of 2 thermal cameras, 7 intelligent cameras, 5 Speed Dome cameras, 1 bullet camera and 3 SOS communicators, and serve the security of the park, especially at nighttime.

Public lighting of the park is provided by 35 light posts with classic lights. Some of the posts have also been equipped with adjustable cameras, WIFI, and loudspeakers

The overall design (landscape and optional associated buildings)

Modernization of Vizafogó housing estate has started a decade ago. Creation of Vizafogó Park is part of this effort. One important aspect of the project was to strengthen local identity of the inhabitants. This is why the artificial, lined ornamental pond with almost 1000 sq m surface area was created and located at the center of the park as a visual and experiential attraction. János Lestyán Goda’s statue entitled „Fishes” also emphasizes the vicinity of the Danube, and reinforces attachment to the special character of the district. The sculpture represents a pair of sturgeons soaring into the air amongst oblique metal rods. The netlike structure reminds us of the fishermen’s net. The sculpture is characterized by a dynamic spatial formation. The lake and this artwork have historic connotations, thereby strengthening the identity of the district, since this area was the home of fishermen who fished for sturgeons that migrated from the Black Sea upstream the Danube to spawn. This is how the current name of the area came about (Vizafogó means sturgeon catcher). The strategy during project development was to use elements representing fishing and the vicinity of the Danube that reoccur throughout the district. The currently privately owned former Vizafogó railway station is located near the Northern side of the park, on Esztergomi street. The building with a character is softly surrounded by the park, the gates to the park are straddled by the old columns of the railway station. This railway station mainly serviced steam mills and industrial installations. To remind visitors of this fact references are made to the past, inviting them to a historic treasure hunt.

The impact on the environment

Assessing the needs of the inhabitants was done based on a survey entitled “Our Street”. With the Vizafogó park project a green surface with eco-park characteristics was created, based on the principles of climate protection, sustainability and the use of natural surfaces wherever possible. Over and above this the park provides a unique identity to the 13th district with its characteristic features. Thus, it serves as an example to be followed in future park rehabilitation / construction projects. The near-natural ecological public green space with a high ratio of green areas that was established contributes to counterbalancing the urban heat island effect, creating a microclimate that is cooler than its surroundings. It provides high quality recreational facilities and is a perfect place for people to relax and recharge. The carefully selected plants that require low maintenance and provide biodiversity, the multi-layered vegetation, the planting of a large number of trees, and the dense foliage are all important elements of the design. With the weather getting hotter the shade provided by the tree canopy can decrease the heat absorption of pavements. The artificial, lined ornamental pond is the central visual and experiential feature of the park. It has a cooling effect on its surrounding, the stepped design of its shore is used as a central area for relaxation. With the deck chairs it provides an opportunity to rest and unwind. The Vizafogó pavilion is located on the shore, housing a café and public washrooms. Its terrace extends over the lake in the form of a deck. The bridge over the lake serves not only as the continuation of pathways, but with its zigzagging design provides an aesthetically pleasing view. The jogging track around the park provides active recreation to those interested in sports. The outdoor fitness grounds on the North side of the park fitted with gym equipment, foosball tables (table soccer), Ping-Pong tables serve the same purpose. Both the outdoor fitness park and the jogging tracks have rubber mats that protect the knees. When the green areas were designed, we aimed to create a variety of spaces. The lake gets adequate sunlight, the relaxation areas are surrounded by trees and multi-trunk shrubs to provide shade. Most of the trees that were planted were mature trees, in order to provide sufficient shade as soon as possible.