SK8+U is a project by the collective Straddle3, in collaboration with Sergi Arenas (skateboarder, designer and builder of skateparks). Developed from an initiative by a group of children and teenagers between the ages of 11 and 17, the proposal consisted of the collaborative design, construction and maintenance of a skate park in Arbúcies (Girona).
The process With a completely participatory process, combining different creative disciplines and communication tools, SK8 + U (pronounced skate plus you, or Skate u, “u” meaning the number one in Catalan) is proposed as a way of integrating younger members of society into the promotion and realisation of new urban spaces. A case study exemplifying a new way of bringing citizens closer to urban planning, and its relationship with a broad and inclusive concept of public space, particularly relevant in times of crisis and uncertainty.
The initial project was conceived in the spring of 2011 when young people contacted various campaigning political groups, Straddle3 members and locals to express their willingness to create a facility where they could practice skateboarding, leaving the door open to users of skate / scooter and bicycle / BMX. The proposed methodology was to turn the project into a laboratory for cultural and urban experimentation. It was carried out through a collaborative process between an independent collective (working on promotion), a cultural association (working on mediation), a cross-disciplinary team (which put the proposal together), and the local Council (which supported and maintained the project). The prize iD Sport and the collaboration of Idensitat was a clue issue at the first stages of the process.
One of the main aims of the project was to make all those involved assume an active role in the process -especially the youngest ones-, and to learn about subjects such as recycling, shared management, integration among disciplines, social communication, self-managed building processes, possibilities for the transformation of urban space, and the maintenance of public spaces. It was an exercise of optimisation of resources, while bearing in mind that the original purpose was to practice a sport which often approaches a level of passionate engagement, and which is fast becoming a sign of identity.
The project, coordinated by David Juarez (Straddle3) and Sergi Arenas (Unió Catalana d'Skateboard), was the result of adapting the programme proposed by the skaters to the conditions arising from the site, to the material collected for recycling, to the budget, and to the method of construction, based on the combination of self-construction workshops, with participants of varying degrees of experience, and with interventions by professionals and experts. Among them were Santiago Cirugeda and Alain Moreno (Recetas Urbanas), Ramon Parramon (artist and director of Idensitat) and Gaspar Maza and Xavi Camino (anthropologist).
One focus of the proposal was the use of recycled materials. Various elements from different sources were collected and used. One of the key pieces was a container from the port of Barcelona obtained at the price of scrap, which served several purposes but above all as a living space, which, used as a warehouse, workshop and / or social venue, triggered the self-management component of this process in its future development, resulting in an additional incentive for young people to build a public space, but also servins as a 'home' for their organisation/collective. A map documenting the various origins of the materials was completed.
Work started with the arrival of the container. On the same day the first earthworks began, the excavation of trenches for the cement foundations, and the marking out of the zones of flats and ramps were carried out. From then on, as the project was developed collaboratively with youth and adults with no construction expertise, the process continued through meetings in a workshop format. The first workshop was dedicated to the design of the skatepark. This was in a meeting with young people from Arbúcies where, with the help of experts, some collaborative decisions regarding the skatepark design were made. During the following weekend the first self-construction workshop took place, in which working groups were responsible for reinforcing and laying concrete footing, reviewing the earthworks, painting the container and building formwork for quarterpipes from new recycled material. A week later, in the second workshop, work continued on the formwork, reinforcing and protecting it against damp, and the retaining wall complementing the container was raised. In the third workshop, the walls and formwork for the ramps were finished, and work on the ground continued. In the fourth and fifth workshop the prefabricated recycled materials were placed, and flats and ramps were reinforced and ready to pour and to polish the concrete. Also work was done on handrails, furniture, paint and graffiti.
Official Presentation of the project + Skateboard Championship
The skatepark, already finished and practicable, was presented on Saturday, October 27th, near to the Pavelló Can Pons, Arbúcies (Girona ). For the presentation a Skateboard Championship was organised by Unió Catalana d' Skateboard and Ajuntament d'Arbúcies, with the participation of local skateboarders as well as from all around Catalonia. Among those were: Enric Tejerina, Richi W. Larios, Nanaqui Costa, Dani Martinez, Ivan Martinez, Marc Ferré, Xavi Zamora, Albert Soler, Alberto Durán, Ignasi Batalla, Ismael López
Sergi Arenas, Eliseu Arrufat, Micky Ayet, Noelia Asensi, Robert Balde, Sergi Ballús, Ignasi Batalla, Joan Batalla, Oriol Bonfill, Jordi Blas, Félix Bonet, Xavi Borrell, Brigada Municipal, Àngel Cabrero, Roser Caminal, Xavi Camino, Josep Camps, Alan Canals, Marc Carballal, Sergio Castro, Juan Caruso, Oscar Cayuela, Santiago Cirugeda, Louise Clay, Ramon Cortés, Diego Chiriboga, Esther Díez, Marc Dilme, Marina Esmeraldo, Alba Fernandez, Aleix Ferrer, David Ferrer, Joel Ferrer, Marc Fradera, Alfonso García, Tatiana Garcia, Cristina Garrido, Miquel Garrido, Alfonso de Gea, Adán González, Ana Hernández, Ivan Herrero, Dani Jimeno, David Juarez, Unai Juarez, Sara Julian, Sery Lee, Ismael Lopez, Francesc Magrinyà, Gabriel Magrinyà, Ismael Manzano, Alain Mariano Moreno, Pau Marzal, Eloi Masnou, Gaspar Maza Gutiérrez, Lluís Merino, Pau Monasterio, Cristian Moreno, Motos Molist, Aram Mujal, Álex Muñoz, Mª Elena Muñoz, Consuelo Nuñez, Anali Rivas, Francesc Romero, Anna Sau, Baalde Suulu, David Orriols, Manel Planchart, Ramon Parramon, Jordi Pastells, Ramon Piella, Carlos Quintana, Kio Rodrigo, Sol Rodrigo, Antoni Ronda, Robert Rosell, Ernest Roura, Assegurances Montse Rovira, Eva Segarra, Penélope Serrano, Joel Vila and Raúl Wong among others.
SK8+U is part of iD Sport 2012 [Deporte, Arte e Inclusión Social]. IDENSITAT and el Consejo Superior de Deportes. Supported by OSIC, Generalitat de Catalunya, Ajuntament d'Arbúcies and Unió Catalana d’Skateboard.
SK8U [iD SPORT 2012] from Idensitat on Vimeo.
JULIAN FURONES_ Deep in the Forest from SERGIO ARROYO on Vimeo.
The participatory process documented by Alex Muñoz
Video shot by some of the participants of the competition