Notts young skateboarders unite to design new ‘lively’ parks across the city

Skateboarding young enthusiasts across Nottingham have the opportunity to design new places where they could exercise and practice their favourite activity in a recently launched challenge.

A project known as #Inspiredbyskatespot is launched by social enterprise Skate Nottingham and a local educational charity Ignite! Futures after a grant from UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) was secured during the summer.  

Youngsters aged between 11 and 18 as well as older young adults are invited to co-design several new places for skateboarding in the city of Nottingham and in other parts of the County.

Participants are mentored by industry experts, sponsored skateboarders and academics and students at Nottingham Trent University.

Christopher Lawton, Co-founder at Skate Nottingham said the project would boost the image of Nottingham as a “lively, creative and active” place to visit.

He said: “It can provide opportunities for young people, and for Nottingham to market itself and to stake its claim as an exciting place in the UK.

“In terms of social impacts, involving young people in the design of it makes them realise that they can be architects or designers, and they can work in adult environment profession structure.

“The real aim of our project is ‘co-design’. It’s not just to change the space, the end of it all, is to open loads of eyes and people who are really passionate about skateboarding can take it.”

A professionally built skatepark in Rushcliffe Country Park will open in April 2021 whilst a flexible space for street skating at the top of Sussex Street, Nottingham City Centre will be completed by the early summer.

In a statement, the City Council says the Sussex Street area will be “transformed into a brighter amphitheatre style space” and “an environment where people can relax and play, with new spaces for activity and exercise for young people, including skateboarding”.

Meanwhile, Skate Nottingham has been working with Beeston Street Art and the Beeston Civic Society to identify potential sites in Beeston to give underused public parks or dilapidated skateparks “a new lease of life” through the installation of skateable structures designed and built with local youth.

Councillor Steve Carr, leader of Broxtowe Borough Council said, “the project will deliver opportunities for young people to get together safely in these difficult times.”

He also gave his “fully support” and pledged £1,000 from his Divisional Fund to help make this project a reality.

Skate Nottingham post. (Source: Instagram)

Since the launch on October 6, a total of 46 submissions have been received from local young people in a wide range of formats, including photographs, film, words, drawings and sculptures. Designs range from hand-made models in clay, to complex multi-dimensional drawings using CAD.

The project also brings inspirations from a team of international professionals, which include Bedir Bekar, Chartered Civil Engineer and teaching fellow at University College London (UCL), and David Gough, a Gothenburg-based landscape architect.

Further competition challenges for young people in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire have set by teams in Bordeaux (France) and Tampere (Finland), with the support of Dedication, a social enterprise that designs skateable spaces across Bordeaux.

Virtual and face-to-face workshops for each of the to-be designed places will be given, with young people engaging in the design of Ruddington and Nottingham City Centre before Christmas and sites in Beeston early in the New Year.

Entry deadline for submission is December 2. A wide range of prizes would be available for the best entries.

An exhibition culminating in participant’s designs is planned at the 2021 Nottingham Festival of Science and Curiosity between February 8 and 17.

By Na Qing

Feature image: Na Qing

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