YACSA is the peak body for young people in SA. We do not have a position on skating, riding or skate parks in South Australia. However we do have a position on young people and their use and need of public spaces and on young people being involved in decisions that affect their lives.
We also aim to help young people learn about the tools and techniques of advocacy.
So when a group of young people came to us and asked us how we could help them drive change, we sat down and listened to them.
At the bottom of this piece, you will find out how you can help those young people (or you can skip right to their survey by clicking here).
*Note: when we say 'riding', we mean skateboards, bikes, scooters, roller blades.. any wheeled motorless movement machine.
If you have time, watch this video made by Jared Nicholson, produced with City Mag.
It goes into depth about Adelaide losing it's skate park.
It shows what happened, how it happened, and the impact.
If you skip to the 22:00, you get to the community's plea:
“About 12 months after the demolition, we received a temporary skatepark. Before we were in the middle of the city and we felt included.
“Now we are being extradited to the corner of the parklands. No public transport comes past here. It’s a 15 minute walk to the nearest toilet. It’s barely a shadow of the skatepark that we lost. We still don’t have any land or money [being assigned for a new skatepark] and we still don’t have a plan of action for what’s going to happen.
“Effectively this is a decision that the state government and the Adelaide City Council have had 4 and a half years to make. So this is your opportunity to tell them that we won’t be forgotten, that we are not going away, and that you care about having a world class skating facility in your city.”
So. Here we go.
40 REASONS A CENTRAL SKATE PARK IS A WIN-WIN FOR EVERYONE
Major cities around the world are figuring out that skate parks are fantastic economic drivers that bring in tourists, help develop communities, provide a cheap sporting option for young people and are great for young people’s development.
As promised, here are 40 reasons why having a skate park is an artistic, athletic, inclusive, cultural investment that is a win-win for everyone:
Creating areas for skating and riding drives jobs and tourism. That’s why cities around the world are investing in it.
1. Barcelona developed a world class skating and riding facility in the middle of their city.
2. That skate park has generated over 40. Million. Dollars. In tourism.
3. The skate park is built in front of a museum, where the artistic urban park and the human culture that fills the space is a de facto exhibit that demonstrates contemporary culture.
4. Philadelphia has added movement objects into pathways around it’s city – a $4.5mil investment into skating, riding and parkour that has spiked tourism.
5. In the UK, they’ve started to use skating and riding as an urban landscape to compliment established art venues.
6. In Portland, Oregon a group of riders built a facility underneath a bridge in a suburb called Burnside, using left over concrete. Now, ‘every skateboarder dreams of visiting Burnside’.
7. Toronto is leading the way, with the city's council having a dedicated Skating Strategy.
8. The strategy aims to develop new facilities, explore ways in which skating and riding can be used to build and strengthen the community, and promote the city’s skating culture to drive economic development.
9. AND, the plan was developed with ‘extensive community engagement’, including consultations with young people.
10. Cities around the world have learned to blend riding with walk-ways, parkour and jogging paths.
11. The same thing is happening in Palestine, Jordan, Tunisia, South Africa, Addis Ababa, Roskilde, Oslo and Detroit.
12. ‘City authorities are also realising skating’s financial potential, with Louisville, Ohio, Shanghai and George Town, Cayman Islands establishing multimillion dollar skate parks to promote tourism.’
14. Why uninvest from skating and riding?
Around the world, skating has a unique ability to help those who feel alienated.
Skating resonates with people because it's fun, challenging, and has the perception of being dangerous.
15. Australian Oliver Percovich founded Skatistan – where he uses skateboarding to help young people in Afghanistan, where ‘there are no created spaces to play’.
16. Youth projects in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Cambodia, and the UK have used skating and riding to address social issues.
17. Oliver believes that, ‘At the heart of skateboarding is what young people need and want the most – creativeness, risk taking, social connections, enjoyment and an escape’.
18. ‘It’s often argued that the independent, risk-taking and even entrepreneurial characteristics of skateboarding are exactly those which modern society wishes to promote.’
20. Riding is a hands on educational tool. It ties in with art, construction, design, sport and team work skills.
21. City Mag made this cool GIF of a rider teaching a young girl how to prepare a metal railing for a trick.
22. At the heart of skating is the idea of sharing knowledge.
Skating is also beginning to gain recognition as a mainstream sport, one that is affordable and non-violent.
23. Riding, as a leisure sport and art form, has matured over the last couple of decades.
24. Riding is one of the few sports we have where the atmosphere is about mutual appreciation, rather than direct rivalry.
25. Riding is way more financially accessible than team sports (especially for young people with low incomes).
26. Unlike other sports, there are no registration costs for riding.
27. Riding is one of those sports-like activities (such as cycling and running, to name but two others) which can benefit both individuals and communities, being both easy to start, and easy to continue.
28. Not to mention that, in 2020, skateboarding will be an Olympic sport.
29. So technically, the temporary skate park is one of the only public Olympic training facilities without access to running water.
30. The entire world is investing in riding.
31. And by ‘the entire world’, we mean: Barcelona, Rome, Philadelphia, London, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Portland, Oslo, Roskilde, Louisville, Ohio, Shanghai, George Town, Caymen Islands, Palestine, Jordan, Tunisia, South Africa, Addis Ababa, Detroit, amongst others.
32. Riding is driving jobs and tourism in major cities around the world.
33. Riding is assisting young people.
34. Riding is an affordable (Olympic) sport.
35. Riding can enhance culture centres.
36. Riding can drive communities.
37. Riding promotes independent, creative, entrepreneurial skills that will benefit young people.
38. For some reason, we are going against all of those trends.
39. We have put young riders on the outskirts of town, in the dark, away from transport, food, toilets and water.
40. Referring back to Matt Hodgson’s comments at the top of this piece:
It's all in limbo.
There's a temporary skate park, that has limited access to water, toilets, transport and lighting. The community is asking for a permanent park.
Some have pointed at the Riverbank, the old RAH and the North end of West Terrace as possible sites for a new facility.
What can YACSA do?
We have been working with a group of young people, along with older riders, to develop a plan moving forward.
As the peak body for young people, we are helping the young people understand the advocacy process, and giving them the tools they need to push for change.
Part of that process is the survey below.
What can you do?
Fill out this survey. Share your experiences, your views, your questions, your concerns and your ideas.
Help this group of young people drive change.