We reject subtle word-play attempting to distinguish one style of skatepark over another. Bottom line: Public skateparks should possess an equitable mix of elements as diverse as skateboarding itself, including “street,” transition, and more.
We advocate for freely-accessible public skateboard parks. These recreational facilities must equitably provide for the needs of a diverse community of skateboarders. Of late, there’s been grand discussions on each end of a contrived and artificial spectrum, much of it centered around a false rivalry between “flowing” or transitional skatepark elements and urban or “street” elements. All of which unnecessarily blurs reality and only serves to slow those seeking to do what they’ve always done: plan for a facility that safely meets the diverse needs of the community.
SPS position? A simple “yes.” Yes, there should be street, and yes there should be transitioned elements. The mix should be, again, equitable.
A far larger issue, in our opinion, is the fact that despite 20+ years of aggressive criminalization, skateboarding only continues to grow. 10.5 million skateboarders (source: SGMA 2005) represents a huge percentage of our youth and the era of chasing them through shadows for the crime of recreation must come to an end. The time has come for communities to embrace and support their athletic skateboarding youth through decriminalization and the creation of public skateparks.
100+ years ago “stickball” was played in the many urban intersections of an industrializing America. In time, this recreational activity was embraced as positive. The growth of skateboarding correlates with a decades-long societal evolution away from team activities and towards individual ones (jogging, bicycling, hiking, etc). Criminalization has failed; the activity must be acknowledged as athletically beneficial and boldly embraced as legitimate. Public skateparks are the answer.
As SPS Directors and Contributors define the Skatepark Adoption Model—a system for proposing strategic visions for any community—relative to such factors as population size and industrial infrastructural evolution. Further, these “Models” will recommend equitable mixes of skatepark obstacles reflecting the broad spectrum of skateboarding. The Skatepark Adoption Model is freely available right here on Skaters for Public Skateparks’ website.
The well-known video below illustrates the real issue that skateboarders everywhere face. The style of terrain in those skateparks is a mere red-herring compared to these real challenges we face as a society. This needs to change today. If the kids below had a place to skate, this situation would have been prevented.