Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The Conflict and Design of Skate-able Spaces

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posted on 2023-08-13, 22:24 authored by Vezeau, John

Skateboarding throughout our city streets creates a dynamic presence when occupying space through an adaption of prescribed space through to how spaces are analyzed. I believe skating adds vibrancy, socialization and can re-imagine the possibilities of public space through the act of skateboarding. Unfortunately skateboarding within public space is often not celebrated, tolerated or accepted and typically looked at as an undesirable user-groups within the realm of public space. Growing up close to Auckland city I have always been fascinated by the way in which skateboarding is excluded from public spaces through interventions such as ‘skate stoppers’, signage, to enforced security personal. My motivation for my research stems from the experience of growing up skateboarding throughout a dense urban fabric, which due to skateboarding deterrents lead to a need of appropriating spaces and to find that sense of belonging throughout our vast landscape.

Another primary driver throughout my research is the interest in how a skateboarder occupies space, perceives space and traverses space through the urban terrain and within a Wellington city focus. These interests create opportunities for research; to understand how skateboarding can be looked at as a strategic design tool to create inclusive spaces rather than that of an undesirable user group. An opportunity to examine strategic design interventions for public spaces to exhibit inclusive qualities for the incorporation of skateboarding through strategic design interventions.

The way in which people perceive public space are not only governed by social norms but also but also determined by rules and designated functions created by architects, landscape architects and urban planners. (Chiu, 2009, pg. 25). Skateboarding appropriates spaces in which it wasn’t designed for and is typically characterized as a transgressive activity which challenges the regulations imposed on public space (Borden, 1998, pg. 46). Yet how the skateboarders perceive space is a hyper awareness of exterior built form and the physical attributes which are examined differently than that of a non-skateboarder, thus creating opportunity of research, exploration and design strategies. The appropriation of space by skateboarding is particularly focused on the opportunities discovered in street skateboarding which holds agency of the commodification of spaces which creates potential.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Landscape Architecture

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

4 Experimental research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Martinez, Carles