What is it about?
Neoliberal and tactical discourses are important for marginalized populations to coopt and leverage to lay claim to neoliberalizing cities' spaces. We have shown how skateboard activist movements in New York City and Los Angeles either fail or succeed in transforming an exclusionary place into an urban commons through the adoption of either a security or a spontaneity discourse. We add a supplemental lens to studying everyday urbanism and spatial tactics by analyzing the discourses employed by skateboarders in two spaces, moving beyond prior academic treatments of the activity. We conducted an ethnographic content analysis, performed field work, and interviewed key informants and skateboarders to compare these two cases.
Photo by Ben Allan on Unsplash
Why is it important?
By comparing the two unique plaza spaces in NYC and LA, our research adds supplemental insight to skateboarding as tactical transgression, architectural transformation, political resistance, and lauded neoliberal activity. We build on prior skateboarding literature by analyzing the discourses adopted by the NYC and LA skate communities. In so doing, we examine how public plazas become multi-use, legalized skate spaces. Our findings suggest the possibility of an alternative urban future where cities can provide both designated skateparks and legalize additional public spaces for skateboarding. We argue that excluded populations can claim their right to city space when they adopt certain tactical and neoliberal discourses. Tactical urbanism can subvert neoliberal revanchism, and the employment of strategic discourses can aid in grassroots efforts to preserve, secure, and reclaim an excluded group's right to city space.
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This page is a summary of: Creativity, Conviviality, and Civil Society in Neoliberalizing Public Space: Changing Politics and Discourses in Skateboarder Activism From New York City to Los Angeles, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, June 2019, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0193723519842219.
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