Moving concrete: development, deployment and consumption of skateboarding in the city

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Laura May Pipe (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Katherine Jamieson

Abstract: Space, often absent from kinesiological analyses, has significant impacts on how communities operationalize health (Fusco, 2007). The spatial dialogue between bodies and intentional movement directs how bodies are invited, or disinvited, to be physically active (Loukaitou-Sideris & Ehrenfeucht, 2011). As communities re-imagine public spaces in the name of neoliberal health (Ayo, 2012; Fusco, 2007), the challenge becomes distinguishing which forms of physical activity and movement are or are not accepted in those spaces. Thus, as bodies claim space, some bodies are ignored, regulated, or removed, while others are celebrated and designed for (Soja, 1980). Skateboarding offers a unique look at how bodies are navigating the challenging landscape of the postmodern. Particularly, skateboarding claims public space, whether or not that space was intended for its use, placing skateboarding in conversation with the municipality and community in multiple ways. Utilizing the integration of social science frameworks (Lefebvrian Triad, edgework, publicness, and biographies) that focus on spatial relations, this project examined the regulation of human movement by municipalities through the critical reading of Seattle’s Citywide Skatepark Plan (Skatepark Advisory Taskforce, 2007) and Portland’s Skatepark System Plan (Portland Parks & Recreation, 2008). Identifying seven key themes, a description of how cities develop, deploy, and consume skateboarding and related sports (e.g., BMX, inline) and the spaces they occupy is presented. The analyses introduce five major assertions that describe how municipalities manage physical movement through “the city” in the name of the common good. These assertions serve to shape how communities define legal bodies and movement through cityscapes and what this means for the skateboarder and skateboarding. Specifically, the introduction of a Skating Commons and ideas of complacent resistance are explored as challenges facing the municipality and skateboarding in the creation of sociospatial networks within “the city.” The application of these assertions in the “lived” experiences of “the city” has the potential to impact how individuals understand, value, and engage in physical activity and movement.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Lefebvrian Triad, Physical movement, Publicness, Recreation, Skateboarding, Sociospatial dialectic
Skateboarding parks
City planning
Urban policy
Urban parks
Public spaces

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