Skateboarding and the inclusion of young people in the community
Dispelling stereotypes related to skateboarding and social inclusion
This project evolved from previous research which examined play spaces for children and the value of nature-based play.
In our focus groups with young people, teenagers would say, “Playgrounds are ok for younger kids, but what about us?”
This research supported the notion that skate parks not only provide a venue for leisure and physical activity, but can act as an important social space for young people.
The research challenged the negative stereotypes frequently associated with skate parks and skateboarding, finding young people who hang out there practise a range of pro-social behaviours and life skills critical for the social development and resilience.
We have used our findings to advocate for skateable areas for young people in many local government areas, both in Western Australia, such as within the City of Stirling, Gosnells, Australind, Collie and Mandurah, and interstate, in regions such as Gympie and Braidwood. Our work was recognised by the Tony Hawk Foundation in the United States.
Following the completion of the project, we are now seeking funding to involve students in designing some skateboard-related sculptures for the UWA campus. If these developments go ahead, we will be the first university in the southern hemisphere to feature skateboarding-related artwork.
When carrying out this research, we collected data on patterns of use and types of users. We looked at the age, gender, skate/BMX/scooter use, whether users were from local areas, and what transport they used to get to the park. The Nicholson Reserve skate park was our focus for this body of research.
When investigating skate park user views, we asked whether they thought the facility catered for all abilities and whether there was enough space for all areas. We used their suggestions to assist in improving or complementing the existing skate park area.
This research led to a report which we provided to the City of Subiaco for it to refer to when planning future development and upgrading skate park areas.
Skateboarding is good for you – and good for public places
Concerns about anti-social behaviour are often cited by those opposing skateboarding in public places, but empirical evidence is sparse. In fact, a greater weight of evidence suggests that it is the lack of things for young people to do that is more likely to fuel undesirable activity.Read more
Melbourne Council is ripping up Australia's best skate spot
Professor Lisa Wood is an expert in public health and has researched skateboarding. She believes Melbourne Council's decision to rip up Lincoln Square sends message that young people aren't welcome in our cities.Read more
Skate park kids are good
University of Western Australia researchers have found that skate parks are actually likely to promote good behaviour. Despite this, the researchers say, skate parks are often under threat from community opposition because of fears that young people who congregate at the parks will engage in illicit behaviour.Read more
Skate parks 'good influence' on teens
Although the development of skate parks has often been fiercely opposed by nearby residents because of fears of antisocial behaviour, researchers from the UWA's Centre for Built Environment and Health found the parks encouraged positive behaviour in teenagers.Read more