Skate parks for all

Skate parks may be one of the most common facilities provided for teenagers, but if you’ve got this far on our website you may be able to guess that they don’t work that well for girls.

A big part of that is down to the design – which often doesn’t allow space for beginners, for separate areas for different group, and which creates a daunting mega-bowl where everyone stares at you as you prepare to fall over for the first time.

So we’ve been working with designer Elliot Hamilton from Wheelscape to design a more inclusive skate park. It’s based on a piece of research which was done in Sweden by White Arkitekter and the Swedish Skateboard Federation, along with our own conversations with girl skateboarders in the UK.

So here it is, hope you like it.

It’s packed with features to make it work for all ages, all genders and all abilities. And also for parents and carers who don’t want to skate at all but would quite like a cup of coffee while they are hanging around. So many that Elliot had to make us a list.

1.     Colour Coding – intuitive traffic light system denotes advised level of skill required to use each skate or wheeled feature.

2.       Rainbow Pride Crossing – a statement that everyone is welcome here and will be respected for who they are.

3.     Stage Area / Slack Space – For manuals, dance, parkour, hanging out, people watching or as a comfortable step up to the mini-ramp.

4.     1m High Mini-ramp – With mellow transitions for an accessible introduction to transition riding.

5.     Multi-level Gradients with Handrail – learn to control speed and balance with a safety rail for added confidence. Run out area is generous to allow for ‘speed wobble’.

6.     Semi-private hang out – with curved benches, perches and multi-use walls. Some visibility from the main path prevents antisocial behaviour.

7.     Mogul Detour – Smooth undulating bumps at 400mm to 500mm are a playful way to persuade people to come in from the path.

8.     Beginners Path way – Hold onto the railing to gather confidence on the flat or over the bumps. Along with the Moguls, these areas are for first timers or anyone looking to acclimatise without committing to the main space.

9.     Herb Garden / Sensory Garden – Community Growing – To serve the container Cafe. 2.5m wide tarmac paths allow wheelchair access alongside and bumps signify change of areas for visually impaired.

10.   Social ‘Pivot Point’ with 180 degree lines of sight across the park, a parent, guardian or carer can monitor from a place of comfort without impacting active lines. Not everyone will be comfortable sitting in the cafe area or amongst the action.

11.   Core-ten Balance Beams / Mound Slide / Maze  – Fun, informal play items break the existing perception of play equipment; inviting a wider demographic, drastically lowering the chances of anti social behaviour & gate keeping or territorial behaviour.

12.   Herringbone Brick Plaza – for ‘click-clack’ effect when riding under wheel, public realm aesthetic and to denote the boundaries of the plaza area (which generally will invite higher speed traffic).

13.   Free space – Extra slab space decreases the potential for collisions and ultimately makes for a more cohesive shared space.

14.   Non-normative Cast Features – Interesting shapes which can be easy or hard depending on angle of approach. Sculptural, free-from, public realm design for inventive and playful interactions.

15.   Container Café – sustainable structure with living roof, rain recovery, grey water system and shade sails.

16.   Seating Walls – Informally delineate active and passive spaces with gentle ‘slip-roads’ to spot other park users before easing into the flow of the park.

17.   incremental Quarter Pipes – 500mm, 750mm and 1m quarter pipes, each with separate ‘lanes’ to group together relative speed and ability.

There’s also:

·         5 way Swing with safety surface laid in concentric circles.

·         Pre-cast concrete picnic benches

·         Boulders for seating / aesthetics

·         Planting scheme to encourage bio-diversity / sensory opportunities 

Best of all you can look at all of these, one by one, number by number, on his fantastic 3-D model below.

And whatever you think, please please comment below and tell us. This is just the first stage in a lot of consultation which should in the end make skate parks work for everyone.

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