Title: Sk8ting the sinking city

Authors: Benjamin Shirtcliff

Addresses: Department of Landscape Architecture, College of Design, Iowa State University, 134 College of Design, Ames, IA 50011, USA

Abstract: Hot, humid, cracking, and sinking, the Crescent City seems unlikely for skateboarding. Frequently referenced for being 'up to no good,' unsupervised adolescents seem an unusual candidate to create opportunities for environmental justice. The paper examines how settings afford prosocial behaviours amongst skateboarding adolescents. Young people have a unique capacity to improve settings for play. Using evidence collected from site observation and YouTube videos, sk8ters reveal that supportive places can arise from blight and vacancy. The research has broader implications for sustainability and environmental justice professionals working with vulnerable populations to transform degraded spaces into beneficial places.

Keywords: unsupervised adolescents; young people; appropriation; interdependence; play settings; environmental justice; cities; YouTube; affordances; New Orleans; skateboarding; phenomenology; urban design; urban planning; sustainable cities; sustainability; sustainable development; USA; United States; vulnerable populations; degraded spaces; beneficial places; environmental improvement.

DOI: 10.1504/IER.2015.071016

Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, 2015 Vol.16 No.2/3/4, pp.97 - 123

Received: 04 Oct 2014
Accepted: 25 Apr 2015

Published online: 05 Aug 2015 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article