Make Public Skateparks More Public-Friendly?

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Make Public Skateparks More Public-Friendly?

Postby houston » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:40 pm

Other day was talking to another skater about some of the local parks, and he started to mention how he thought skateparks should be much more architectural and artistic. So that rather than confining it to a single spot, you'd be spreading out the skate features and incorporating them into the landscaping (putting the "park" in "skatepark"). Also, making the terrains more attractive (such as the ocean wave in the "Skateable Sculpture" thread). Something it brought to my mind is Dale Chihuly, the artist who builds huge glass pieces and puts them out in natural settings (parks, forests, streams, mountains), rather than confining them to a museum. Perhaps another example is a good zoo -- of course the stars of any zoo are the animals, but the faux-natural habitats and surroundings are easily just as important to the experience. Nobody wants to see a collection of steel cages.

It sounds like a nice idea maybe. Inviting the public to walk among the skatepark, to see how daring and dedicated the kids are. How the half-million spent on a kid's hobby really was a good investment. And for skaters, having a constant flow of non-skating adults nearby might be healthier for the kids, to not become so overly comfortable in their isolation, which only seems to fuel their urges to become (destructive, territorial, the usual childish bullshit) little pricks.

But really how practical is it? Is it only asking for trouble, by inviting parents to push their baby strollers into riders going by at 30mph? Is there a "right" way to do it? Or is what we have now (skateparks in clearly isolated areas that mostly discourage spectatorship) already the best that can be done?
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Re: Make Public Skateparks More Public-Friendly?

Postby HarryR » Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:02 am

I'm not currently in a fit state to make any meaningful comment on this (after a couple of beers) but I just wanted to say that I appreciate the thought-provoking post. Sounds like a good idea to me :-)
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Re: Make Public Skateparks More Public-Friendly?

Postby houston » Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:11 am

C'mon Harry, let's hear whatcha got. Couple beers might be the exact right state.
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Re: Make Public Skateparks More Public-Friendly?

Postby HarryR » Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:31 am

The morning after. Feeling brighter now but the best I can come up with is that it still seems like a good idea. Interesting in the same way that Willy Wonka melded a chocolate factory with a theme park. Dual purpose but interesting and fun. It would be nice to see an artists impression of how this could look.
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Re: Make Public Skateparks More Public-Friendly?

Postby xman2001 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:09 am

isn't an health and safety issue? keep all the dangerous animals and their toys behind bars...
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Re: Make Public Skateparks More Public-Friendly?

Postby Bullet » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:01 pm

houston wrote:having a constant flow of non-skating adults


Houston, I dunno where you go skating, probably some nirvana-isolated utopia that I'd love to visit (and rip) but personally... I can't go skating anywhere and swing a cat without hitting some cunt that has no business being at a skatepark... :?:
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Re: Make Public Skateparks More Public-Friendly?

Postby vato kat » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:34 pm

I'm not sure how well it fits the criteria but i'll share my perspective anyway. I've been skating at Devonshire Green a lot while the weather has been fair and the evenings long; it's getting a bit tatty now but it's skateable. The best thing however is probably the location; it's right next to a big open patch of grass in the centre of Sheffield and on sunny evenings there's always folk about - playing football, having barbeques, drinking in the Gaudi-esque beer garden at the Forum, simply mooching about, slacklining, playing frisbee, getting stoned, jakeys arguing with each other - and lots of folk will stop off at the park, watch for a while, chat and move on. Most folk are friendly and curious as to what's going on, which encourages you to be friendly in return and just maybe give the non-skating public a better view of skateboarders. I even had some old Chinese fella chat to me the other day about the common ground between skating and martial arts, it was great.
I don't think i'd care for the park at any other time but on summer evenings I can't think of anywhere else in Sheffield i'd rather be.
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Re: Make Public Skateparks More Public-Friendly?

Postby Bullet » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:16 pm

vato kat wrote:I'm not sure how well it fits the criteria but i'll share my perspective anyway. I've been skating at Devonshire Green a lot while the weather has been fair and the evenings long; it's getting a bit tatty now but it's skateable. The best thing however is probably the location; it's right next to a big open patch of grass in the centre of Sheffield and on sunny evenings there's always folk about - playing football, having barbeques, drinking in the Gaudi-esque beer garden at the Forum, simply mooching about, slacklining, playing frisbee, getting stoned, jakeys arguing with each other - and lots of folk will stop off at the park, watch for a while, chat and move on. Most folk are friendly and curious as to what's going on, which encourages you to be friendly in return and just maybe give the non-skating public a better view of skateboarders. I even had some old Chinese fella chat to me the other day about the common ground between skating and martial arts, it was great.
I don't think i'd care for the park at any other time but on summer evenings I can't think of anywhere else in Sheffield i'd rather be.


These kind of stories makes me understand Houston's POV a little better... sounds lovely. Unfortunately other realities are well different... The flow of non skaters at the parks I usually go (actually, even the ones I go to only every once in a while) is the main reason why the park itself end up looking like shit :( ... and it ain't the graffiti I'm referring to (couldn't care less for these) but actual rubbish that the skaters end up having to clean up (bmxers and scootards couldn't care less, obviously riding big wheels, and the fruitbooters are either extinct or too lazy...). Even the binmen at these parks are too useless to do their job properly (god forbid they clean up the bowl every once in a while :evil: ). I guess it got to be Nottingham some kind of chav-shit magnet...
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Re: Make Public Skateparks More Public-Friendly?

Postby Mr J » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:19 am

Harry Ramsden wrote:I'm not currently in a fit state to make any meaningful comment on this (after a couple of beers) but I just wanted to say that I appreciate the thought-provoking post. Sounds like a good idea to me :-)


yes, I like Houston's posts they are frequently thought provoking :idea:
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Re: Make Public Skateparks More Public-Friendly?

Postby Mr J » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:59 am

Houston, yes I agree with the idea of making skateparks more public friendly. The main reason why I think they should be that way is that skateparks that are tucked away out of sight from the rest of society are inviting trouble. In the 80s I have seen children sniffing glue from crisp packets in such a place. Not just that, if they are seen to be places which are generally friendly and say parents can feel comfortable watching their children then the public is more likely to be accepting of skateparks and not object so much to them getting built. There is no doubt that skating has a delinquent image amongst the general public.

So part of this is your suggestion to make them more architecturally aesthetic, so there are less complaints about them being eyesores. Another part is to put them in very accessible places that are frequented by the community in general. Melbourne City skatepark just the other side of the river from the central business district and next to some public gardens has achieved the prominent location part of this. Although it has nothing special to offer aesthetically except to people like me who drool at all the open flat concrete and tall flat banks.

Within skating distance of where I live there is a recently built skatepark. The council went to some trouble to contract an aesthetic design. The concrete has been coloured in different earthy subdued colours which blends into the surrounding coloured concrete paths and grass landscaping. Part of the motivation for the emphasis on aesthetics was to appease the local haters (of which there were many and very vocal at the council meetings and also on local newspaper and council message boards). This park also achieved a spot right next to the melbourne "bay" or inland sea which is frequented by walkers, joggers, rollerbladers, cruising bicycles etc. About 2 years ago I attended a council meeting to give my 2 cents on skatepark design with the intention of making it my only appearance (I don't like speaking in town halls in front of people), however I was astounded at the vehemence of the objections from the general public. I was sufficiently pissed off that I went the remaining distance and attended every meeting for the next year and a half or so (except once when i was overseas). I also wrote to the local government. This brings me to one of your points...

While the future of the park was still tenuous an initial non-detailed design was proposed which was to put skateable obstacles in the paths leading to the main skate area, some of which could serve the dual purpose of providing seating when they weren't being skated. However, this was thrown out due to concerns that it would lead to collisions between skaters and the general public. This in my opinion was the only contribution that the non-skating general public offered. Like Bullet I think it probably would be a problem to mix skating and pedestrian areas and obstacles tend to get covered in dust coated wax and aren't inviting seats anyway.

One criticism that I have seen on a skateboard message board is that the seating which did get built on the perimeter of park is made of wooden slats and therefore not skateable and a wasted opportunity. However, I think it was a good thing to provide seating which is just that, right next to and facing the skateable infrastructure, because it makes for a more friendly atmosphere with some public watching and not getting wax on their clothes. The skaters sit on it too.

It's a fantastic tranny park, although I only skate occasionally coz I prefer the flat ground of the city park.

My local park:

http://www.skateboard.com.au/v2/index.c ... ew&id=3663

Melbourne city skatepark:

http://www.skatepark.ymca.org.au/discov ... -park.html
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Re: Make Public Skateparks More Public-Friendly?

Postby marki3boy » Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:42 pm

Skateparks in my home town are public friendly, they're mostly unskateable, so skaters stand around chatting with the public about what a bunch of wankers the council are.
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Re: Make Public Skateparks More Public-Friendly?

Postby Mr J » Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:59 am

Marki3boy, those are two good examples near me which are accessible to the public, although the link to the city park exaggerates the m2 - its not the biggest in the region and I estimate the skateable area is more like 1000m. If the seating and shop and cafe area is taken into account then it might be the 1800 that is stated.

However, Melbourne definitely has its stuffed up council parks. One near my previous workplace which I used to use occasionally, had mis-shapen obstacles that were very poorly height matched - 4' tranny with coping facing 2 1/2' tranny does not make for a good mini-ramp setup! The ground appeared to be made of a curious substance too - somewhere in between tarmac and concrete with undulations and cracks. That sort of poor design is what motivated me to get involved in my local .. I am now digressing into the subject of stuffed skatepark design.

ps nice, blog, seems like you are finding some fun regardless!
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Re: Make Public Skateparks More Public-Friendly?

Postby marki3boy » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:14 pm

This is a good idea, a skateable bench, it's a new addition to Cardigan skatepark.

Cardigan is a tiny town in West Wales that has got it shit together and has had a concrete skatepark for over ten years.

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Re: Make Public Skateparks More Public-Friendly?

Postby Brian S » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:24 am

Or how about an alternative take, a big fuck off fence to keep the knuckle dragging chav scum out, that like to bottle, burn & generally cause shit because they can? :D
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Re: Make Public Skateparks More Public-Friendly?

Postby misterbleepy » Sat Jul 20, 2013 9:41 am

rather than public, how about private, like this idea for a house:

http://vimeo.com/25779239

your own skatepark to live in
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