With an eye toward building equitable, community-building public spaces, Barcelona recently opened three new skateparks. As cities around the world continue to work with — instead of against — skateboarders, such ambitious projects are increasingly showing up on drawing boards.
Each new Barcelona park, according to the designers at architecture firm Scob, is integrated into the neighborhood to create an urban landscape that is at once “a sports area, a street, a square, a park.”
The parks are designed to be just another facility within the city, with each echoing its surroundings. In Poble Nou, the Mar Bella Urban Sports Park’s dunes and paths reflect the area’s topography. The wave-shaped skate structure is surrounded by benches for non-skaters.
Les Corts’ Aurea Cuadrado Urban Sports Park and the Urban Sports Park in Nou Barris are also designed with this kind of pedestrian-skater harmony in mind. In Les Corts, the interior of the park is natural and materials of the skating infrastructure blend in easily. Nou Barris’ park also aims for physical continuity.
“These new meeting points unite both skaters and pedestrians, encouraging their interaction and helping [to avoid] potential conflicts,” Scob notes.
To connect skaters to its city’s parks, Philadelphia recently launched an arts project with two skateable sculptures.
Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.