A successful and inclusive community supports public spaces that encourage interaction, spaces that enable them to celebrate and share common interests.
The growing culture of skateboarding has made a huge impact on the city and the successful introduction of the Gardens Skate Park shows that it is used by people from all walks of life.
There is a growing demand within our city for spaces that encourage youth development and recreation and, with the number of young people in Hout Bay exceeding 5000; there remains a serious lack of safe public spaces in the area.
As Hout Bay increasingly begins to celebrate its diversity, so residents are realising they have a unique opportunity to learn from each other.
A safe place to recreate
If a neighbourhood has no skate park, it is a skate park – and skateboarding is happening in Hout Bay with or without the presence of a skate park.
By supporting local youth with a skate park, we’re reducing the risk of danger and injury. In this way, this valuable facility will serve the public by creating a safe and attractive place for people to create and develop active lifestyles, away from the risks found on the streets and other inappropriate places.
Skateboarders are a vital part of the urban community
Skateboarding has been a commonplace feature of South Africa’s urban environment for many decades. In fact, it’s so popular with youth that today there is no city on the planet that doesn’t have it’s own skateboarding group of kids. Our local skateboarders are not part of a fringe group of kids who are into something unique and uncommon, they’re an integral part of our local community.
It’s offers a healthy, athletic option for today’s youth
Many skateboarders skate several times a week and often for hours at a time. There is clearly a commitment for these individuals to develop their skills, yet they do this without coaches, teams, and often without even an appropriate place to do it.
Skateboarders are currently under-served in the area
As a community we seek to support our youth in pursuing active, healthy lifestyles. Without community support those groups are required to build their own support systems outside of our community. Do we want to sit by while a significant portion of the Hout Bay youth meet their recreational needs with no support or involvement from our community?
The cost of participation makes it accessible to everyone.
Skateboarding is inexpensive and economically feasible for most families.
Hand-me-down equipment is commonplace, and no additional equipment, no “green fees” and no travel expenses are needed. To get into skateboarding one only needs a skateboard and a place to do it!
It can displace other less desirable activities in an area.
Skaters love skateboarding. That’s what they’re into. For the dedicated skater, any activity that disrupts their time skateboarding is going to be a problem…and few obstacles will prevent the skater from pursuing it. When skate parks are built in places where there are existing problems – criminal activity, vandalism, and so on – the skaters will serve to displace those people who prefer a remote, secluded environment
It creates cohesion.
The skate park bestows community benefits beyond physical activity. Skateboarders build friendships and a kind of micro-community with other skaters from the area at the skate park. This community will encourage and support its members. The diversity of a skate park community can provide a social support network where school and family may not be adequate.
It helps to draw skateboarders away from less appropriate areas.
Without a skate park, people will continue to skate wherever there is compelling terrain. With the creation of a skate park we are able to create activity where we desire it to be, and move it away from those places where we don’t. Reclaiming public spaces help people to feel like they are part of a caring and secure community. The busier the place, the more appealing for the youth and the more ‘included’ and valued people feel. An important psychosocial benefit of creating a skate park is that it allows community members to ‘feel safe again’.
Thousands of global communities recognise the value of skate parks.
When skate parks are designed to succeed, they succeed wildly. Many global neighbourhoods with parks rank it as one of their most popular, well-used facilities.
The Hout Bay community and surrounds already has hundreds (maybe thousands) of skateboarders.
Skate park visitors are ready to go! They’re here now, ready and waiting.
Everyone – not just skaters, can enjoy it.
Skate parks are social spaces that will attract interest from all parts of our community. In cities across the nation the local skate park is a landmark that everyone is familiar with. Our skate park will include amenities that visitors can enjoy so that it’s understood by everyone—skaters and onlookers—that we appreciate and support what these kids are doing.
It supports the formation vibrant, healthy communities, just like many other athletic facilities.
Skate parks attract social cohesion. Many skate parks attract groups of regular patrons. These people may not know each other socially outside of skateboarding but at the skate park they have the opportunity to become friends and form bonds that cross economic, geographic, and even language barriers.
Skateboarding is a popular spectator sport.
There are more than 2-million skateboarding videos on YouTube with many featuring over 5-million views each.
It provides a safe after-school location.
For skaters, a skate park often provides a valuable third place in their lives, a place to spend their free time, socialise and exert energy in a safe and healthy environment that is close to home. The skate park will have the amenities necessary for providing a comfortable place for its visitors, including secure places to drop a backpack, set a bottle of water, or just sit and relax.
It can enhance community reputation.
Skateboarding is often at the centre of whatever happens to be popular among today’s youth. For many people, spending time at the skate park will be something cool to do that doesn’t cost any money. For the Hout Bay community, having a great skate park will serve to show the region that we understand how to engage our young adults.
Skate parks are fiscally conservative and require very little maintenance.
When a skate park is built correctly it requires virtually no structural maintenance for years.