Skateboarding, Space and the City (Paperback)

By Iain Borden

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 9781859734933, 336pp.

Publication Date: April 1, 2003

List Price: 37.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Skateboarders are an increasingly common feature of the urban environment - recent estimates total 40 million world-wide. We are all aware of their often extraordinary talent and manoeuvres on the city streets. This book is the first detailed study of the urban phenomenon of skateboarding. It looks at skateboarding history from the surf-beaches of California in the 1950s, through the purpose-built skateparks of the 1970s, to the street-skating of the present day and shows how skateboarders experience and understand the city through their sport. Dismissive of authority and convention, skateboarders suggest that the city is not just a place for working and shopping but a true pleasure-ground, a place where the human body, emotions and energy can be expressed to the full.

The huge skateboarding subculture that revolves around graphically-designed clothes and boards, music, slang and moves provides a rich resource for exploring issues of gender, race, class, sexuality and the family. As the author demonstrates, street-style skateboarding, especially characteristic of recent decades, conducts a performative critique of architecture, the city and capitalism. Anyone interested in the history and sociology of sport, urban geography or architecture will find this book riveting.

About the Author

Iain Borden Director of Architectural History and Theory and Reader in Architecture and Urban Culture at the Bartlett, University College Londo

Praise For Skateboarding, Space and the City

"Those few of us in the academy engaged in writing about the sociospatial relations of skating delight in the polished arguments that Borden presents over nine logically structured, pertinent and stylishly illustrated chapters." --Cultural Geographies

"Borden describes the emergence of not so much a sport as a way of life ... Its relation to architecture is kept beautifully clear ... a good read." --Building Design

"Skateboarders help us to think about buildings and their use. Borden argues that they draw our attention to the city as the site of perpetual change." --The Independent

"The first academic study of skateboarding." --Dazed and Confused

"There's absolutely no way I can do [the] work justice here the book is incredibly thought-provoking, especially from the perspective of actually being a skateboarder. I highly recommend it." --Sidewalk

"A fine book that I recommend to any skateboarder who can read at a college level." --Big Brother

"Borden owes as much to 30 years' of personal passion and experience as he does to any architectural or social theory." --The Architect's Journal

"[The book] delineates an architectural history, as yet largely unwritten, which focuses upon 'processes, possibilities, reproduction, performance and use.' Skateboarding, Space and the City reads the city through body and board - not merely through books. At a moment when architecture history/theory consists primarily of regurgitated texts intelligently referenced, inclusion of 'fieldwork' makes Borden's book an invaluable contribution to the field." --Archis

"[This book shows] a clearly detailed knowledge of both his chosen theoretical approach and the magazines of the skating community." --City

464"This is an amazing book and a real surprise A first. Pick it up and you'll learn something interesting about the cities you skate in; you might even learn something about skating itself." --Slap Skateboard Magazine

"Even if you don't like books, this book is wicked This book is about you. It is not written by another 'band wagon jumper oner'. Iain Borden is a rare breed I'd like to meet this man and shake him by the hand. He is on our side." --Love 'N' Skate