Building a DIY skatepark and doing politics hands-on

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


In recent years, informal and unauthorised amateur urban design solutions have become an urban trend in the global North. These Do-It-Yourself (DIY) urbanism actions can be playful commentaries, critical interventions or functional improvements to urban spaces. In general, DIY urbanism tries to make urban everyday life better, but it is not always considered a political act. This paper presents an ethnographic case study of a DIY skatepark building in Tampere, Finland, and describes a group of skaters’ political subjectivisation and how they learned hands-on to influence urban governance. After the city’s failed skatepark plan, the skaters turned their discontent into a tactical spatial appropriation, a DIY skatepark, and later shifted their mode of politics to strategic claim-making. By doing so, the skaters became not only skilled skatepark builders, but also an organised association promoting skateboarding and influencing urban development and culture. This paper argues that DIY urbanism has transformative potential to act as a catalyst for bottom-up change in a contemporary city.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)646-663
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • DIY urbanism
  • political agency
  • skateboarding
  • bottom-up urbanism
  • informal urbanism

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


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