HAWAIIAN CONSCIENCISM with Linda Tuhiwai Smith on May 2, 2013 at UH Manoa. She spoke on activism, feminism, culture, difference,...
After 666 comments, a friend of mine was kicked off Metafilter. That was ten years ago. He told me his old screennames over drinks a...
I’m still on my research binge re: public space and found an urban planning dissertation on public space and skateboarding. Skateboarders have been consistently excluded from public spaces and city sidewalks as menaces to the proper pedestrian.* Francisco Gallart argues in his dissertation that skateboarding has been and is still a “critical spatial practice”, even in an era with municipal skate parks custom-built for corporate skateboarding competitions. Skateboarding at its most basic is to use and appropriate the urban/suburban landscape in unsanctioned and unexpected ways. The concrete pillars underneath a “dark, dingy, and forgotten bridge undersides” become the site of aerials and flips. Other uninviting or seemingly useless locations like empty swimming pools are also made into playgrounds:
The plaza at the foot of the skyscraper figures among the built forms deemed “dead public spaces” due to the proliferation of defensible architecture throughout the modern city. Skateboarders appropriate and redefine these hard spaces as skatespots by performing unintended uses of the built environment.
It is Lefebvre’s right to the city, the right to the imaginary and play, for the “oeuvre (not only of products and consumable material goods).” I am forever grateful to a man I once saw in Boston, roller-skating down Boylston with a flower pot on his head.
Not solely skateboarding, but nonetheless, an unexpected and poetic way of inscribing the city by dancer Bill Shannon.
* Segways are the true menace to innocent bystanders. I hate them.