Even in 1969, social geographers in Germany (Ruppert and Schaffer 1969) believed that easily accessible recreational areas close to a town were more important than the outdoor recreation during a year’s holiday (Fliedner 1993). The suitability of open spaces and landscapes for recreation has since been analysed in many studies (e. g. Nohl 1981, 1984). Following this research, open space qualities such as naturalness and diversity, specific characteristics of the site, possibilities for “appropriation activities”, accessibility and usability contribute to recreation of adults. The results of this study show that this obviously also holds true for urban-industrial woodlands.
Compared to the survey from 1997 (Table 1), leisure activities of adults increased in 2003 (Table 2) while children’s play and adolescents’ activities decreased. This shows that the project fields have developed into established and accepted open spaces and have shaped the post-industrial urban landscape of the Ruhr (Fig. 3).
Table 2. Activities in the “Industriewald Rheinelbe” (results of 120 hours of observations and mappings carried out over 24 days in Gelsenkirchen in the summer of 2003)
Fig. 3. “Industriewald Rheinelbe” – Spatial distribution of observed activities in 2003