Describing Skateparks

Skateparks come in all shapes and sizes. When a community is working toward a new public skatepark, they will inevitably face a number of decisions regarding what the skatepark looks like and how big it is. There are lots of ways to make these decisions and most people rely on instinct. There’s a better strategy for building your skatepark vision that relies on specific calculations. When the skatepark idea is based on logical responses to specific goals that the skatepark is meant to meet, critics of the direction, style, or location will need to produce good evidence that your skatepark vision is unsatisfactory.

There are several ways to describe skateparks. As a skatepark advocate you will need to depict the skatepark in a way that resonates with your audience. Different audiences will respond to the skatepark idea largely based on the words you use to describe it. Here are just some of the more popular ways to talk about skateparks. Your skatepark can be described as any of these things at different points. For example, for one audience you might refer to the new skatepark as a recreational facility and for another audience it serves a role in the larger economic development plan. You might even describe it as all of these things at once.

“The Skatepark is a Recreational Facility”
The skatepark is a place to engage in healthy physical activity. With more people spending their leisure time on the couch or in front of the computer, it’s more important than ever to be focusing community attention to ways that we can encourage people to get outside and stay active. Skateparks are good at that and many beginning skaters go on to exercise habitually.

Goal: Increase outdoor recreation among local youth.
Measure: Current participation at local parks after school and during weekend afternoons.
Compare to: Skateparks in your region serving communities of a similar size.

“The Skatepark is a community space”
The skatepark is a gathering place for the community and will create more social interactions between people that may not otherwise talk to each other. People will build life-long friendships after having met at the new skatepark. What makes the skatepark unique is that adults, adolescents, and children will all use the space together as peers.
Goal: To incubate more social cohesion among people of different ages, ethnicities, and economic backgrounds.

Measure: Number of places in your community that youth are invited to visit that don’t require entrance fees.
Compare to: Total number of non-monetized social spaces found in your community.

“The Skatepark contributes to economic development”
Park improvements increase real-estate value and activate spaces that may otherwise be seldom used, and can even activate derelict spaces. Skateparks will attract pedestrian activity to an area and will be an important part of building a thriving, healthy, social community. These improvements all have direct impact on the local economy. Regional skateparks, (the largest type), can also attract tourists.

Goal: Increase economic health in a particular vicinity.
Measure: Amount of pedestrian activity.
Compare to: Amount of pedestrian activity in the vicinity of skateparks in the area.

“The Skatepark improves quality of life”
Skateparks are the most appropriate places to ride a skateboard. The skatepark will draw skaters away from areas where skating is perceived as a nuisance and into places where it is least likely to disturb anyone.

Goal: Mitigate nuisance street skating.
Measure: Quantity and severity of skateboarding-related complaints received by local law enforcement.
Compare to: Complaints in localities with skateparks to localities without.

“The Skatepark reduces risk”
Skateparks are the safest places to ride a skateboard. The skatepark will draw skaters away from the streets where they are exposed to risk of collision with motor vehicles and dangerously high speeds.

Goal: Reduce skating in dangerous places.
Measure: State-wide reports of skateboarding-related injuries per 1,000 residents.
Compare to: Quantity and severity of injuries reported in communities with and without skateparks.