Monday, January 16, 2012

Marginal Way DIY Skatepark

Larch 598B, Professor Jeff Hou

Chris Wright

Jon Pagan

Matt MacDonald

Location: Marginal Way Skatepark, Intersection of South Marginal Way and Hanford, under Hwy 99 ramp, Seattle, Washington State.

Site Visit- Mon, Jan 16 11:00am.

Activities: One skateboarder, evidence of further construction underway.

Marginal Way skatepark is being built by skateboarders, for skateboarders. The project began in 2004 with a group of people identifying an underutilized piece of public property that was previously used as a transient campground and garbage dump. After years of illegally pouring concrete to create skateable terrain, Marginal Way is now a legal skatepark that is completely built and maintained by local skateboarders. It has since been turned into a registered non-profit corporation.

Marginal Way is a unique facility for several reasons. First of all, the park can be used year round. The day of the site visit, there were two inches of fresh snow on the ground. The park was dry because it was built under a highway ramp. Marginal Way is likely the only public place that can be skated that day. Next, because the park was built by those who use it, the specific shapes and arrangement of the concrete forms are perfect for skateboarding; in contrast to many parks built by non-skateboarding contractors who inevitable get it wrong. Also, the design of the park is flexible- if a feature is not working well it can be torn out and something else built instead. Therefore, it functions as a laboratory for skatepark design.

Marginal Way functions as a gathering place for youth and adults who share the love of skateboarding and skatepark design. However, it is not without its share problems including security, theft, drug use, and vandalism. Self-funded and self-policed, this facility is an excellent example of DIY Urbanism.


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