Within the city, the skaters from outside and from within Rotterdam do not intend to stay at one place, for example in one of the various skate parks that the city offers, but prefer to wander through the city, taking a stairs, a little wall or steel beam wherever they see one. Skaters prefer to skate all over the city as it creates a certain atmosphere. They compare it to an ice track: skating on a frozen river or lake is nicer than on the artificial ice-skating ring. Furthermore, the city forms a great background for the production of short films about the urban skateboard experience.
Our design intends to respond to this search for mobility and to stimulate it even further. Therefore, we did not design one skate object on a fixed location but a series of equally mobile objects in various sizes (Small, Medium, Large). The skate objects are modular designs based on the dimensions of a 20-foot shipping container, which allow for various, some internationally standardized, means of transport (ship, train and street). Like this, the skate locations can be moved around the city (or even around the country or the world), according to the desires of the skaters. The small scale objects can be moved without any additional help of machinery.
We propose these objects to be part of an overall route of skate locations, set within a wider urban program (we define this as our Extra Large proposition). Maps will be distributed, indicating the urban skate circuit and the location of the various punctual interventions, or urban acupuncture (including present ones like on the Blaak and in Rotterdam Zuid; and new ones like on the Heemraadspark). This map can be send to and by the skaters via mobile phones, a central web site will be created including all the required information for the community. Each urban acupuncture node on the map will be equipped with a certain level of services. They will be made recognizable by a certain graphic language (i.e. color, type or combination of objects, design, patterns etc.) by which different identities are created. The various ages and skills of the users are reflected in the objects as the S, M, L, XL configurations also correspond to different degrees of difficulty. Beginners should start on the Small objects and move to the Medium or Large one when their level has gone up.
By locating the skate objects in various parts of the city, the mobility of the skaters is considered and stimulated as well as interaction with urban citizens of different ages and residency. Consequently, locations can be picked according to the cultural connections that the skaters and other population groups want to promote. The proposed urban program will enhance the collective use of public spaces, as they address the needs of various urban subcultures and generations. An important side effect of this approach towards urban public space is that the presence of people from different subcultures throughout the day will create (a feeling of) security. The 24/7 (24 hour a day, 7 days a week) urban program can regenerate previously abandoned urban areas. Like this, the skaters and other connected urban subcultures are reclaiming the streets, reclaiming the city. Together.
A Company (Oliver Schütte and Marije van Lidth de Jeude with Michiel Deijmann, Monique Swart, Jorge Chinchilla Paniagua and Jose Chaves Arce)
Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands