Stop 4 – Skate Park - Regulation of Space

However, city management and governments have begun to recognize certain practices challenging spatial use; as a result, they have begun to increasingly regulate these practices.

Space is controlled for ‘’acceptable’’ uses by regulation and design obstacles, with skate boarding bans in prime locations, prevailing surveillance, and added sculptures in plazas on steps and barriers on smooth marble objects (Snow, 1999).

Designated areas for skating in skate parks are becoming increasingly common, yet controlled areas are creating a different experience of the practice, skaters tending to prefer the natural environment opposed to built spaces, because of skating’s transgressive characteristics (Chui, 2009). The increasing social control imposed on skaters is altering skater’s ability to create self-identity and cultural expression.

How activities such as parkour, street art and skating have been regulated makes us question how public our public space actually is. We assume public space to be for ‘’the public’’ and as a result all people.

However Sorkin (1992) claims there has been an ‘’end of public space’’ though privatization and democracy . Public space is now thought to revolve around the marketization of the space, to further benefit the capitalist powers, and wealthy investors (Sorkin, 1992). Many landscapes are beginning to become privatized and organized landscapes, that unfairly privilege the social hierarchy of the population (Breitbart, 1975).

Policies by the government such as banishing the homeless from the streets is an example of this, whereby only the wealthy and privileged are allowed access too specific areas. They favor the economic benefits from developers or international capital firms, removing the homeless who would otherwise negatively influence the area if it was to becomes associated to the homeless (Smith,1992).
As a result, acts such as street art, parkour and skateboarding have been defined as anarchism because they challenge overt efforts to manipulate behavior or deny free access to space. Acting as a way to reveal the ‘Ordered Landscape’ (David, 1995) and the embedded false assumptions about people and social structures in space that emerge as a result.

Mitchell claims (1997) we are creating a comfortable dreamlike space as demanded by the dominant capitalists, to bolster and boost the city’s image for their benefit. The strict management of these anarchism movements could represent this, such as the street art of Hosier Lane being advertised for monetary game. This should make us question who public space is for, the people or the ever narrowing affluent domineering class of leaders who constitute and dictate our public space, such as powerful TNC’s, governments favoring capitalist interests (Smith, 1996). Does it feel different to skate in this space compared to Lincoln Square? Why is it only certain space is available for specific uses?