The first and only serious study of a subject which is often dismissed
as child's play, but which in fact has made a significant and unique
contribution to urban culture over the past 40 years. Dealing with issues
of architectural design, subcultural identity and urban experience, the book Skateboarding,
Space and the City by Iain Borden shows how skateboarding involves various histories
of youth culture, the architectural design of skateparks, technological
inventions, graphics and product design, and the politics of space in
The project has three research aims: (1) to provide a comprehensive account of the history of skateboarding (2) to investigate the nature of urban space and, in particular, the role that different peoples' experiences of space play in the history of cities, and (3) to investigate the methodological implications of Henri Lefebvre's ideas regarding the social production of space and the importance of everyday life for our understanding of architecture, cities and urban space.
The project sits within a broad concern with the history of architectural and urban experience, i.e. with the history of architecture after it has been constructed, and investigating the various ways in which cities and their architecture are continually reproduced through different experiences, idea and codings.
An interdisciplinary enquiry involving architectural history, spatial theory, photography, and urban criticism. It is based on the intersection of two main research methods. (1) an empirical and interpretive historical enquiry into skateboarding, using: magazines, newspapers and other published sources; videos, photographs, drawings and other visual sources; and interviews, personal experiences and various ephemera. (2) A theoretical enquiry into the idea of Henri Lefebvre and related discussion of urban space in the work of, inter alia, Ed Soja, Michel de Certeau, Georg Simmel and Michel Foucault.
Iain Borden, Skateboarding, Space and the City: Architecture and the Body, (Oxford: Berg, 2001)
Japanese edition. Translation by Miho Nakagawa, Masako Saito and Tsunehiko Yabe. (Tokyo: Shin-yo-sha, 2006).
Iain Borden, 'Skateboarding and Cities: Tokyo 2008,' Izumi Kuroishi (ed.), Sensing Cities, (Tokyo: Ayoama Gakuin University Press 2009), pp. 18-23.
Iain Borden, 'Performance, Risk and the Public Realm,”'Sophie Wolfrum and Winfried Nerdinger with Susanne Schaubeck (eds.), Multiple City: Urban Concepts 1908-2008, (Berlin: Jovis, 2008), pp. 154-8.
Iain Borden, 'Performing the City,' Ken Gelder (ed.), The Subcultures Reader, (London, Routledge, second edition, 2005), pp. 256-68.
Iain Borden, 'Skateboarding and the Outside:In City,' Margot Jacobs (ed.), Outside In: Emerging Expressions, Interventions and Participation in Public Space, (Göteborg: Interactive Institute Play Studio, 2005), pp. 16-18.
Iain Borden, 'An Affirmation of Urban Life: Socio-Spatial Censorship in the Late Twentieth Century City,' (reprint), Jakob Kolding, City 2, (Frankfurt: Revolver, 2004), n.p.
Iain Borden, 'A Performative Critique of the City: the Urban Practice of Skateboarding, 1958-1998,' (reprint), Malcolm Miles and Tim Hall with Iain Borden (eds.), The City Cultures Reader, (Routledge, second edition, 2003), pp. 291-7.
Iain Borden, 'Stadt Sprechen: Skateboarding-Subkultur und Umbildungen des Urbanen,' Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer (eds.), Visuelle Kultur: Körper, Räume, Medien, (Vienna: Böhlau, 2003), pp. 79-99.
Iain Borden, 'Another Pavement, Another Beach: Skateboarding and the Performative Critique of Architecture,' Borden, Rendell, Kerr and Pivaro (eds.), The Unknown City, (2001), pp. 178-99.
Iain Borden, 'Speaking the City: Skateboarding Subculture and Recompositions of the Urban Realm,' Ray Hutchison (ed.), Constructions of Urban Space, (JAI Press, 2000), pp. 135-154.
Iain Borden, 'Body Architecture: Skateboarding and the Creation of Super-Architectural Space,' Jonathan Hill (ed.), Occupying Architecture: Between the Architect and the User, (London: Routledge, 1998), pp. 195-216.
Iain Borden, 'Beneath the Pavement, the Beach: Skateboarding, Architecture and the Urban Realm,' Borden, Rendell, Kerr and Pivaro (eds.), Strangely Familiar, (1996), pp. 82-6. Reprinted in How To magazine, n.1 (February 2007), pp. 26-33.Iain Borden, 'Skate e a Cidade.' Interview conducted by Lucas Ribeiro, Vista (Brazil), n.15 (November-December 2007), pp. 36-8.
Iain Borden, 'Espacio urbano y representación,' Calle Magazine: Revista de Contracultura Urbana, n.0 (December 2007), np.
Iain Borden, 'Stimulating
the Senses in the Public Realm,' What Are
We Scared Of? The Value of Risk in Designing Public Space, (London: CABE, 2005), pp. 20-33 and 44.
Iain Borden, 'Skate and Destroy/Skateboarding Is Not A Crime,' Bank (Frankfurt), n.1 (2004), pp. 20-5.
Iain Borden, 'Skateboarding,' entry in Miles Orvell (ed.), Encyclopedia of American Studies Online, (2004).
Iain Borden, 'A Performative Critique of the City: the Urban Practice of Skateboarding, 1958-1998,' (reprint), Anthony Kiendl (ed.), Godzilla vs. Skateboarders: Skateboarding as a Critique of Social Spaces, (Saskatchewan: Dunlop Art Gallery, 2003), pp. 36-63.
Iain Borden, 'Skateboarding and Henri Lefebvre: Experiencing Architecture and the City,' Scroope 13, (2003).
Iain Borden, 'Lo skateboarding come critica della cittá: la performance fisica estrae dalle superfici della cittá quello che serve e getta il resto,' Ottagono, n.152 (July-August 2002), pp. 70-5.
Iain Borden, 'Performing the City' (Japanese translation), Finding a Public Sphere, special issue of Modern Philosophy, v.30-6 (2002), pp. 81-96.
Iain Borden, 'Material Matters: Skateboard Technology and the Politics of Differential Space,' Sport Technology: History, Philosophy and Policy, special issue of Research in Philosophy and Technology, v.21 (2002), guest edited by Andy Miah and Simon Eassom, pp. 79-91.
Iain Borden, 'Rätten Till Staden.' Interview conducted by Anders Emilson, Area (Sweden), v.7 n.1 (2002), pp. 46-52 and 69-71.
Iain Borden, 'Sprechende Architekur: Skateboarden auf der Stadt,' Bauwelt, n.30-1 (18 August 2000), pp. 54-7.
Iain Borden, 'El Skateboard y la Creación del Espacio Super-arquitectónico,' Bau, n.19 (2000), pp. 92-9.
Iain Borden, 'A Performative Critique of the City: the Urban Practice of Skateboarding, 1958-1998', (Chinese translation), Cities and Design: Intercity Networking (National University of Taiwan), ns. 7-8 (March 1999), pp. 25-44.
Iain Borden, 'A Performative Critique of the City: the Urban Practice of Skateboarding, 1958-1998,' Everything, v.2 n.4 (March 1999), pp. 38-43.
Iain Borden, 'De Stad Moet Leven: Skateboarden en de Sociaal-Ruimtelihjke Censuur in de Laat Twintigste-Eeuwse Stad/An Affirmation of Urban Life: Socio-Spatial Censorship in the Late Twentieth Century City,' Archis, n.5 (1998), pp. 46-51.
Sections of Skateboarding, Space and the City have been translated into over 10 different languages. A full
translation in Japanese was published by Shinyou-sha press in 2006.
The book has also received considerable academic and media attention, including self-authored extracts and articles in several academic publications, an interview in the US Chronicle of Higher Education, reviews in architectural magazines such as Building Design and The Architects Journal, features and reviews in The Independent, Blueprint, The Guardian, The Times and Dazed and Confused, and media coverage on ITV television, BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service radio, Channel 4 television, Channel 5 television, LA2/TVE television (Spain), Arte television, (Germany) and SVT television (Sweden).
At London's Southbank Centre for the arts, Borden's talks and advice to the SBC, as well as participation in numerous film and television documentaries (including “Save the Southbank,” 2008), has helped secure a permanent area for skateboarding, BMX and graffiti. Under development 2013-14, this prime 1,200m2 site under the Hungerford Bridge has a 10 million footfall pa. Borden is here acting as a lead SBC consultant on the £1 million project, responsibile for identifying, appointing and briefing specialist skate-space designers SNE Architects, plus engaging on public consultations.
Policy advice related to this project has also been given to CABE Space, Milton Keynes Planning Department and Cambridge University. 'Moving Units', an exhibition on skateboard-related art, was also held at the Architecture Foundation in 2006.
Over 35 public lectures have been given in 15 countries worldwide, including most recently: "Future Memory" debate, British Council/National Museum, Singapore, (2011); "Knights Move" series, Stroom, The Hague, (2011); "Marklin World" public exhibition/symposium, Kunsthal Kade, Amersfoort, (2011); film screenings/debate, Tate Modern, London, (2011); "Spaces of Memory" symposium, Royal Academy, London (2011); "Bodies in Motion" series, Royal Anthropological Institute, London, (2012); "Urban Toy Box" symposium, RIBA/CIC, York (2012); Nike Executive Leadership team, London (2013); and "Urban Sports and Architecture" event, Latvian Architecture Union, Riga (2013).
In 2013, interviews, quotations and opinion were given to BBC television and radio, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Building Design, Huck magazine, The Independent, LBC radio, Tampa Bay Times, The Evening Standard and numerous specialist skateboarding media channels and publications.