M32 Skate Space

My idea is to turn the grassroots D.I.Y skatepark that has been built under the M32  into a more permanant, complete skate area for future generations.

Since the first few obstacles have been built by the Skateboarding, BMXing and Rollerblading communities, the formerly neglected space has gone from a dark, dingy, and dismal cavern into a highly used, vibrant, creative, and communal area.

It's used by skateboarders and cyclists of all ages, and on the weekends parents bring their kids down to ride around the smooth tarmac expanse on their scooters.

The locals cleverly used existing structures such as concrete blocks and benches to build obstcales on and around, making great use of the space and creating unique obstacles to perform tricks on.

With just a little more conrete and metal, the space could be turned into a veritable skatepark rather than a collection of obstacles. The potential of this space is immense - and the benefits of its redevelopment are already clearly visible, evidenced by the large groups of young people doing something constructive and creative whilst also keeping fit and active.

 

 

 

Why the contribution is important

Bristol is renowned nationally and internationally as a bastion of the skateboarding scene - the Lloyds ampitheatre is a world famous proving ground for skateboarders - and creating a free, outdoor, weather-proof space would only help to encourage and nurture future generations of skateboarders and bmxers.

Bristol is lacking in a free, undercover space for alternative sports, though it has a strong history in encouraging them. The space would require only a small amount of investment - concrete, rubble, and angle iron- and the work would happily be undertaken by the skateboarders and cyclists themselves. Wheelscape Skatepark construction have also expressed an interest in helping the council realise the potential of this space.

Considering the immense success of the 'M32 Spot' so far, securing it's place as part of the Bristol skate scene would be a hugely positive step that could be taken at a small cost. Other 'underpass skateparks' have become world famous, and even become real tourist attractions - such as the Burnside skatepark in Portland, Oregon - which is something of a mecca to skateboarders worldwide - and Washington Street in San Diego, California. Turning this previously disused area into a permanant skatepark would create a unique, architecturally inspiring urban space that's got Bristol written all over it.

by HarryMcKenzie on November 26, 2013 at 10:40AM

Current Rating

4.46666666667
Average score : 4.4
Based on : 45 votes

Comments

  • Posted by HenrySlater November 26, 2013 at 12:07

    Fantastic idea! A great combination of community, art and sports - Bristol needs more spaces for youth projects such as this and an undercover area would discourage bmxers and skaters from damaging public property!
  • Posted by HarryMcKenzie November 26, 2013 at 14:26

    More arguments for... And ways to save money...

    1. Reclaimed/abandoned materials could be used to save costs.

    2. Increased usage of the space and more lighting would also make the area much safer for pedestrians passing through.

    3. The hard labour could be provided by the users themselves, skateboarders, bmxers and rollerbladers, saving costs and promoting the sense of community at the M32 spot.

    4. Local artists could get involved to help brighten the place up - there is plenty of great wall space for murals/pieces.

    5. Given the recent tarmac resurfacing of the area, a considerable portion of the would-be costs are already paid for.

    6. Skateparks are proven to decrease antisocial behaviour.

    Here is footage of a skate jam run by local skate shop Fifty Fifty that took place shortly after the first obstacles were built: http://vimeo.com/50370655#at=79

  • Posted by yhin November 27, 2013 at 10:58

    Brilliant! I love it. And so easy, you wonder it hasn't already been done.
  • Posted by HarryMcKenzie November 27, 2013 at 12:27

    Thanks yhin, glad you like the idea - it could really help to regenerate the area and make it a much safer place to pass through. Much of the groundwork has been done by local skateboarders and bikers already, the space just needs a small amount of investment for materials and a seal of approval from the council!
  • Posted by Palmerstonian November 28, 2013 at 11:45

    Tremendous idea.
  • Posted by Demahoney November 30, 2013 at 09:44

    Great idea i like it a lot.
    But i don't think you should be promoting commercial business on this site, unless the Skatepark construction team are willing to offer their services on a voluntary basis.
    I ve given this 5 stars as potentially could be achieved without much financial support.
  • Posted by HarryMcKenzie December 03, 2013 at 13:50

    Hi @Demahoney, I'm really stoked you like the idea, and thank you for giving it 5 stars!

    You've hit the nail on the head there - I wasn't intending to promote commmercial interests whatsoever, I'm good friends with some of the guys who work at Wheelscape and they've expressed an interest in helping the cause on a non-commercial/voluntary basis - giving advice on design, construction methods, and ways to save money.

    They're passionate and have a wealth of expertise so could help the project get going with even more ease!

    giving advice on potential designs, building methods, and ways to save money.
  • Posted by EWolfe December 07, 2013 at 12:27

    This sounds a great idea, but I have a concern. If the Council were to take this on officially, I assume that a thorough health and safety check would become mandatory. By law, the Council would presumably become responsible for lessening risk and inspecting equipment/obstacles. This would (a) have a cost and (b) possibly sanitize the zone to the extent that potential users lose interest. Am I being unnecessarily gloomy? (I don't want to put a damper on a potentially fine idea, so I'll wait to see the responses before adding a rating.)
  • Posted by HarryMcKenzie December 09, 2013 at 15:30

    @Ewolfe - Good point. What's actually being suggested here is a quasi-official council 'blessing' of the area with a small degree of funding to augment the existing space - as opposed to designating the area as an official 'skatepark' with the concomittant safety regulations. Even if they did, these safety regulations usually amount to the installation of a 'Use at your own risk' sign and would thus be a very inexpesive measure to be taken. Therefore there's little risk of the zone becoming 'sanitised'. Also, given the grassroots nature of the project, users take it upon themselves to maintain the area - removing broken glass and rubbish left by passers-through, and making sure the obstacles are safe.

    Users are highly unlikely to lose interest as there aren't any free, weather-proof areas to practise alternative sports in Bristol. Should the idea be taken on it will be

  • Posted by EWolfe December 09, 2013 at 16:17

    Thanks HarryMcKenzie. That sounds excellent all round then. Five stars from me.
  • Posted by HarryMcKenzie December 10, 2013 at 14:31

    Thanks! @EWolfe I really appreciate that you've given the idea some critical thought - it shows that it's worthwhile.
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