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Designs architecture. Writer and blogger. Also a freelance architecture and fashion photographer.

 

 

Skaters



Relevant to Auckland's CBD facelift, this is perhaps a perspective that many have not heard of. 

This is really the other side of the story. Skateboarders as stakeholders, standing up for their right to use public space in their own way. Urban design is going a bit anti-skateboarding - those ugly lumps of metal protruding from beautiful finishes of stone and concrete are hardly the elegant solution. Apparently they are an after thought; they were added after the design process had run its course. The worst.

Skating, on the other side of the fence, is viewed as a disruption, nuisance and even vandalism to public property. With the edges of benches and urban design elements eroded from the repeated grinding, do they really see themselves as "protectors of public space"? It almost seems improbable, at the very least biased.


An example in the film is the newly created steps outside the Central City Library, an urban corridor that long needed a facelift and rethink. The pedestrian friendly design is a wonder compared to the dingy street that existed before. The skater's opinion is that it's a naturally good skating playground even though it was not intentional. Good for them. However, the Underground Academy Cinema isn't too happy with all the noise from skating filtering down into their viewing space. There's a subtle give and take with this sort of public stakeholder interaction.

When we design for the public, who are we designing for? What do you think? Feel free to comment below.

4 comments:

  1. Yes interesting. I'm pretty ambivalent about skateboarders but I agree that it has to be a balance. I think designing a public space with skaters in mind away from areas that they could cause disruption may be one solution.

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  2. Hey Bobby! If you use your uni account, try to access the article Intolerance for Noise and Disorder: Questioning the 'Publicness' of
    Auckland's Lower Queen Street on
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08111140701583745 . It's an interesting read related to the article you posted.
    The place seems okay for short borders, but I haven't seen any long borders in the area (they prefer parks and parking lots)

    -Nico

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! Will check it out. I think it's an issue that pervades all urban space, esp CBD type spaces.

      Delete
  3. Nah, that's ridiculous. There's no "right" to use a public space however one pleases. Urban designers are justified in using whatever deterrents they feel necessary.

    In practice, though, I suspect that designating particular areas for skateboarding—not necessarily segregated (e.g. fenced or isolated)—would satisfy both skateboarders and the general public to at least some extent.

    ReplyDelete

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