Context - Skating in the city

Melbourne is known within the local, national and international skateboarding community as a great place for skateboarding. As such, many people visit the city to skate in its designated skate parks, streets and other public spaces. Melbourne is home to some of the world’s top skate talent, skate brands, and has hosted skate world cup events in the past.

Skating is popular in Melbourne due to some of the following reasons:

  • The urban environment is relatively smooth and flat.
  • Public Transport is very accessible with trains, trams and buses all in the central city.
  • Melbourne is known for its skating talent and culture, many world skate champions have come from Melbourne as have many skate brands and events.
  • Melbourne is known for its street culture, street art, street performers, laneways and being a very walkable and people oriented city.

Skating is an activity that takes place in dedicated skate parks and within city streets, plazas and other spaces. There are also different styles of skating which require different spaces and obstacles. Broadly speaking, street style skaters prefer to use flat surfaces, benches, stairs and rails to perform grind and slide tricks on, whilst transitional style skaters prefer surfaces with a curve (e.g. bowls and ramps) to ride on and utilise for aerial tricks.

In the City of Melbourne there is a local skate park in JJ Holland Reserve in Kensington and a municipal skate park in Alexandra Gardens (Riverslide) in the central city; both built 15 years ago. In recent times, some public spaces in the city have been designed to allow for skate as a shared use, such as Neill Street Reserve in Carlton and Docklands Link. However, not all areas of the city are suitable for skating and therefore it is discouraged through physical design (e.g. skate stoppers, rough surfacing), and sometimes it is prohibited through local law (e.g. Lincoln Square, State Library).

Docklands Link, Docklands

Where skating is found to be suitable, more inclusive urban design approaches are currently being trialled. An example of this is the concrete bench at Docklands Link (shown to the right) that can be used as either park bench, a playspace or a surface for skating.

Riverslide Skate Park, Alexandra Gardens

Riverslide has 100,000 annual visits and hosts regular events and programs. At peak times these parks can be heavily used, and as a result of this and other reasons, skaters sometimes seek out other close-by public spaces to skate within and around the central city.