Skateboarding Vs Architecture / by Tom Oliver Payne

Image courtesy Trotters

Image courtesy Trotters

Skating is growing like crazy. Although skateparks are awesome, and will continue to hold their place in the city, they aren't necessarily the future. The future is integrating skating into our urban public domain. This can be done through changes in urban design and architecture, and by helping to alter the perceptions that law makers, city managers, and residents have of skaters in the city.

Too often skaters are viewed as a negative nuisance in society; commonly because of the damaging impacts they might cause on property, or because they act as a potential hazard to others in a public realm. But the physical, creative expression that skating is, can have huge advantages on a city as a whole. A city will not only benefit from having more young people involved in a healthy physical activity, but skaters can act as a 'caretakers' of particular public areas (even leading to complete regeneration by drawing masses of young people to what were once derelict locations).

It's time we started to view skaters and bmx riders differently in our cities. Skate prevention mechanisms such as 'skatestoppers' not only look ugly from an aesthetic perspective, but they are ultimately stopping members of society to use 'public space' in the way in which they choose. And that's what 'public space' is there for, right? Not everybody wants to just sit and drink coffee.

This mini-doco presents a number of different perspectives of skaters in the city - from skaters themselves, to the Mayor of Auckland. It offers, what I think, are some really good solutions to involving skaters in the design process and making the city's public areas more freely available for everyone to use.