The accidental youth club: skateboarding in NewcastleGateshead.

Mike Jeffries, Adam Jenson, Jon Swords

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Skateboarders re-invent and interrogate the physical structure of cityscapes as they use spaces, buildings and objects for skating. However skaters are routinely regarded by the civic and business interests who dominate city centre planning and regeneration as, at best, a nuisance and at worst an unruly and dangerous blight. This paper reports findings from a research project involving skaters which begins to unpick this stereotype. A participatory methodology combining mapping, interviews and observation was used to identify spots used by skaters in Newcastle and Gateshead (North East England). The key spots were characterized using Woolley & Johns’(2001) criteria: trickability, accessibility, sociability and compatibility. Findings reveal two further 12 factors – temporal and relational dimensions – are crucial the journeys skaters embark on. Sociability was the one constant factor defining favoured spots. The study revealed a sociable, entrepreneurial, creative skate scene. Far from being a problem the skaters add to the social capital of the cityscape. Our findings suggest rather than designing out skaters from the city the civic authorities should work with skaters to sustain their scene as a positive benefit to city regeneration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-388
JournalJournal of Urban Design
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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