Debating Skateboarding and Urban Space

Philadelphia may lose its world-famous skateboarding landmark with the renovation of its LOVE Park plaza, flaring a decade-old debate that has made international headlines.
March 6, 2011, 1pm PST | Tim Halbur
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Philadelphia's LOVE Park, a dead plaza in the 1980s, was brought back to life by skateboarding, transforming this downtown plaza into an international hub of a multi-billion-dollar sport. When the City enforced a skateboarding ban back in 2002, a coalition of advocates raised over $1 million, gained 10,000 petition signatures from 40 nations, and editorials in the city's major daily newspapers in support of re-opening the park to skateboarding.

Because of LOVE Park, Philadelphia hosted the X Games two years in a row and was home to some of the nation's top professional skateboarders. However, City government turned down a $1 million from California-based DC Shoes to reopen the park to skateboarding. The city is now moving ahead on renovating the plaza to discourage skateboarding. The issue is at the heart of a larger debate around the acceptability of skateboarding as part of a mixed-use urban environment.

Thanks to Greg Heller

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Published on Monday, February 28, 2011 in The Philadelphia Daily News
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