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Skateboarding, Space and the City
Iain Borden, Skateboarding, Space and the City: Architecture and the Body, (Oxford: Berg, 2001). Revised edition forthcoming. The first and only serious study of a subject which is often dismissed as child’s play, but which in fact has made a significant and unique contribution to urban culture over the past 40 years. Dealing with issues of architectural design, subcultural identity and urban experience, Skateboarding, Space and the City shows how skateboarding involves various histories of youth culture, the architectural design of skateparks, technological inventions, graphics and product design, and the politics of space in cities today. AIMS & QUESTIONS The book has three research aims: (1) to provide a comprehensive account of the history of skateboarding (2) to investigate the nature of urban space and, in particular, the role that different peoples' experiences of space play in the history of cities, and (3) to investigate the methodological implications of Henri Lefebvre's ideas regarding the social production of space and the importance of everyday life for our understanding of architecture, cities and urban space. CONTEXTS The book sits within a broad concern with the history of architectural and urban experience, i.e. with the history of architecture after it has been constructed, and investigating the various ways in which cities and their architecture are continually reproduced through different experiences, idea and codings. METHODS An interdisciplinary enquiry involving architectural history, spatial theory, photography, and urban criticism. It is based on the intersection of two main research methods. (1) an empirical and interpretive historical enquiry into skateboarding, using: magazines, newspapers and other published sources; videos, photographs, drawings and other visual sources; and interviews, personal experiences and various ephemera. (2) A theoretical enquiry into the idea of Henri Lefebvre and related discussion of urban space in the work of, inter alia, Ed Soja, Michel de Certeau, Georg Simmel and Michel Foucault. DISSEMINATION Sections have been translated into 10 different languages. A full translation in Japanese was published by Shinyou-sha press in 2006. The book has also received considerable academic and media attention, including self-authored extracts and articles in several academic publications, an interview in the US Chronicle of Higher Education, reviews in architectural magazines such as Building Design and The Architects’ Journal, features and reviews in The Independent, Blueprint, The Guardian, The Times and Dazed and Confused, and media coverage on ITV television, BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service radio, Channel 4 television, Channel 5 television, LA2/TVE television (Spain), Arte television, (Germany) and SVT television (Sweden). Over 30 public lectures have been given in 15 countries worldwide. Policy advice related to this project has also been given to CABE Space, Milton Keynes Planning Department, Cambridge University and the South Bank Arts Centre. 'Moving Units', an exhibition on skateboard-related art, was also held at the Architecture Foundation in 2006. The book was also runner-up in the Kathryn Briggs Folklore Society Award, 2001.
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  • The Bartlett School of Architecture
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