Exploring the Role of Skateparks as Places for Young People: A case study of skateparks in Prince George, B.C

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Hung, Sanya
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University of Guelph

Although some people suggest that skateparks enable undesirable behaviour and increase crime, others argue that skateparks provide much needed public places. The aim of this study is to explore how skateparks may address the needs of young people in Prince George, B.C. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with key informants involved in the planning, design and implementation of two skateparks in Prince George, B.C. Data on user experience and the role of each skatepark was collected through secondary data analysis. Results revealed that skateparks are in-demand facilities that may provide places for young people to use legitimately, where individuality, acceptance and creativity are welcomed; where young people meet and socialize with others and engage in unstructured, accessible, low-cost recreation and physical activity and stress release. Engagement and strong partnership between adolescents, community members, skatepark designers, and municipalities in the early planning stages may be associated with higher levels of community satisfaction.

skate parks, skateboarding, exclusion, public space, places for young people