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Skateboarding, Space and the City: Architecture and the Body [Paperback]

by Iain Borden
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 2001 1859734936 978-1859734933 1st
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.

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Skateboarding, Space and the City: Architecture and the Body + The Answer Is Never: A Skateboarder's History of the World
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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

About the Author

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

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 1st edition (May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859734936
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859734933
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #872,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Production of Space March 8, 2006
Format:Paperback
This book is an informative look into Ian Bordens extensive research into the history and culture of skateboarding, which illustrates alternative issues of architecture and production of space.

The beginning chapters are heavy reading and heavily referenced, but worth the time and effort. The later chapters go into an in depth and detailed look at skateboarding development and cultural issues.

He challenges readers to change their perception of architecture and spaces, and to look at how our own actions affect the space we occupy, by looking at skateboarding and its culture. He references Lefebvre who said, "Surely it is the supreme illusion to defer to architects, urbanists or planners as being experts or ultimate authorities in matters relation to space." He then goes on to talk about how the interaction addresses the physical architecture, yet responds with a dynamic presence not another physical object. Skateboarding produces space, but also time and the self. This book addresses how, architecture as a set of flows, as a set of experience and reproductions, can be embedded in the practices of architectural history - for as architecture is not itself a space, but only a way of looking at space. The rest of the book is a thoroughly researched look at skateboarding.

Its worthwhile noting that his is not a skateboarding magazine and is written in the academic tongue so is not easy to read. But worthwhile reading if you are interested in this field.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Appropriate This! Urban Space March 20, 2005
By s.5
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Unmistakably and in so many ways, Iain Borden thinks that skateboarding is RAD! This sentiment comes through in nearly every one of his 267 pages on the subject, a sort of tribute to the urban arts of skateboarding. This is scholarship as panegyric ... but don't get me wrong, I'm largely with Borden in his readings and estimation of the radical nature and content and potential of skateboarding: it's RAD!

In this monograph, Borden's archive is largely skateboarding magazines. He talks some about zines and almost none about films, and the way he reads mags is simply (and a bit disappointingly) to quote from the alphabetic portions of those texts. This is not to say that this book is not replete with images, because it is -- photos, magazine pages, more photos, including even one of Borden in a pool at a skate park! love that moment in the text -- it's just that Borden is not a discourse analyst, so he doesn't break down and close read in the ways I might have wanted him too. But dude, he sure is an architectural theorist, and so what this book is is Borden dumping piles and piles of Lefebvre onto skateboarding in order to redefine architecture and make sophisticated sense of what might otherwise be considered a "mere" hobby.

That's right: Borden more or less erects a massive half pipe of Lefebvre's work on space and the city, rhythmanalysis, bodies, and the modern city, and then skates skateboarding and the spaces/landscapes that skateboarding takes place and shape in and around in RIGHT THROUGH that theoretical halfpipe. It makes for a yummy ride, if a bit of a repetetive one -- back and forth we go for all of those 267 pages largely riding on the simulacral wave that is the half pipe made out of Lefebvre. But since I dig Lefebvre, I was into the book.
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5 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a major disapointment August 18, 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Yes, I said it, and I stand behind it. I really had my hopes up for this one. There is so much that can be done, the title alone suggests creativity utilizing the imagination. Does it deliver? No. The book, wich I expected to be full of photography and articles showing how skateboarders use the surrounding architecture for creativity, is really just a sad piece that goes on to tell the history of skateboarding, with very little interesting photography at all. The written content itself is hard to keep your interest, even for a long time skateboarder as myself. Dont get me wrong, I am all for the history of skateboarding, hell, I lived most of it. But that should be and has been put in books and editorials that were labled as such. This was, as I said, a disapointment. I can only hope that someone will see this and spark the idea to do it right, unless I do it first that is.
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