What is more urban than a city’s train station? The skateboarding association High Five has partnered with the organisation ‘Meine Einkaufsbahnhof’ in Munich to offer free skateboarding right in the middle of the train station’s entrance; a busy space where crowds pass by every day.
The idea of skating inside the train station is to promote urban culture and its social values in a context outside of skate parks or controversial bits of infrastructure areas in the city. A train station is one of the best urban public spaces to do that.
Skateboarding has always been controversial in cities as urban dwellers often have the perception that public property could get damaged. Skateboarders tend to look for new places to skate and use public spaces to experiment. For instance, just outside Sants, the main train station in Barcelona, a well-known skateboarding spot in the city, benches have definitely seen better days. They are almost completely rounded off adding a vandalism image to the skateboarder.
However, skaters are part of an urban subculture that adds creativity to the city and bring about an image of risk and freedom. Cities have started to see that and are embracing skateboarding and its social values. On the other hand, skateboarding organizations are taking the opportunity to put their effort into social and educational benefits in cities.
On a normal day at the train station in Munich you can see all kinds of people; not only travellers rushing to catch the train but also youngsters who found asylum in the city and without nothing much to do, but wander around the isles. What is the magnet of a train station that attracts so many different crowds for other reasons than travelling? A temporarily officially opened 70 square meter skate roller made of wood may find out why. It is open to anybody to skateboard for free.