Everyday HybridityDr Paul O'Connor
"The skate park is the epicentre of UK skateboarding and is part of the cultural fabric of London. This much-loved community space has been used by thousands of young people over the years. It attracts tourists from across the world and undoubtedly adds to the vibrancy of the area - it helps to make London the great city it is."
Boris Johnnson Mayor of London -
This comes from a press release from the Greater London Authority. It is a remarkable sign of the way in which skateboarding has become recognised as a cultural component of London city. At a wider level this indicates a recognition of street skate culture from the conservative elements which skateboarding has acted in resistance against.
Is this a sign of triumph for skateboarders or an indication of its increased domesticity? A question in which I have recently come to ask as street skating emerged because skateboarders had no place else to go. It moved to become a way of creating a ludic city. Challenging what too often is conceived of a sterile civic place and providing new meaning. If skateboarders are given spaces in the city, that mimic the city, what does that ultimately mean for skateboarding?
Preserve Southbank, but also recognise that skateboarding must still find and lay claim to new places. Southbank represents that organic nature of reclaiming public space and the creative use of urban environments for new cultural activities.
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