Posted by: Gregory | June 30, 2015

Councillor Young vs Skateboards

Councillor Nicola Young took another shot at kids skateboarding around Wellington yesterday.


She cites damage as her concern, but her previous comments had shown a desire to keep skateboarders in the skate parks, which strikes me as elitist.

The spaces we create present opportunities, but often take on lives of their own as people explore. It’s not up to designers, nor councillors, to enforce use of a space after it’s been put in place.

ST Place Comes First

The argument of damage caused is valid to an extent, but we should expect that kids are going to be looking for parks and furniture that present opportunities. They’re carrying a skateboard and they’ll use it whenever they can. We know that damage will happen and we should design for it.


The attitudes that Councillor Young display are, in my opinion, anachronistic and deserve to be challenged. I’d like to see some of the school-aged skateboarders pick this up as a school project. The skate parks that are in place are too few and lack the capacity for the skateboarding population around Wellington. It would be easy to show with population statistics and a measure of the capacity of the existing skate parks. If anyone takes this up, I’d be more than happy to publish as a guest post.



  1. Thanks for posting, Nicola’s tweet has been bugging me. I think some areas of e.g. Pukeahu Park and Victoria St should be left skateboard friendly.

    • I think there’s lots of room in the city for street furniture that’s resilient to skateboard wear, which makes it multipurpose furniture instead of single-function. Planning for mixed use should be the goal.

  2. Yes Gregory I agree with your comments and report our request to the Long Term Plan for 300K for improvements to skate-parks city wide, fell on deaf ears.

  3. Reblogged this on strathmorepark.

  4. We discussed this issue on a recent inspection of memorial park. It’s not just the design of infrastructure that can reduce issues bUT also the space design. If you want seats that aren’t used by skateboarders they can be in a space enclosed by plants. And in large spaces have areas likely to be attractive to skateboarderstwhile and some not to separate the uses. Put in some of the types of walls etc they like using materials that can cope. Skateboarding is exercise in the open so has health benefits we should celebrate.

    • I think that model works for both built/planted infrastructure and for extra people. Skateboarders don’t tend to be pushy about space. They use empty surfaces instead of occupied surfaces. If the space is more generally attractive and more occupied, fewer of the benches will be used for skating. This basically means that we need design multipurpose spaces instead of big empty things with a few seats.

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