“It was a great opportunity to get something in the downtown area that is a proper skate park,” Hawk told the Free Press. “This one is exciting, although it’s not our usual style of skate parks. At the same time, I want to support anything that is public and will be available for people to skate.” A skate park without a concrete base can be challenging to build, he said, but noted that modular skate ramp technology has improved considerably in the last ten years.Wayfinding is only temporary at this location, though. It's holding ground until Bedrock's latest development, Monroe Block, breaks ground in early 2018. The pieces will be moved to another part of the city when construction crews take over the site. Though the park is new, Hawk is no stranger to Detroit. He and his wife bought a home there last year, and in years past his eponymous foundation has donated to local philanthropic causes.
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Meet the German landscape architecture firm Maier that specializes in skateparks from Palestine to Peru
German landscape architecture firm Maier Landschaftsarchitektur has designed a very colorful addition to Bethlehem, a town you'd be forgiven for foremost associating with the birthplace of a certain Biblical character. Built with the support of charities Skate-Aid and SOS Children's Villages and on the latter's village grounds in the area, the skatepark aims to install feelings of "joy" and "happiness" in the troubled area.
The park is split in two, comprising two bowls, one open and the other closed. The park gains an increased lifespan thanks to its rolling landscape that protects it from damage. Currently, around 126 children reside in the SOS Children's village in east Bethlehem, an area which has been subject to political instability, prevailing violence, high unemployment, and increased poverty.
The freedom to play is an important part of any childhood and so Maier, lead by German landscape architect Ralf Maier, hopes to give the children of the village that chance. Fortunately, skating, as a recreation, has no religious or political affiliations embedded within the sport. Neither are there any allegiances with common enemies—like with the Giants and the Dodgers, for example. Subsequently it's an easier way to unify communities such as the SOS Children's Village.
Working with Skate-Aid, SOS Children’s Villages, and Betonlandschaften (concrete landscapes) Maier has been able to install skate parks all over the world, across Germany, Africa, to Palestine and even Peru.
In Kigali, Rwanda, another skatepark was completed as recently as 2016. Here a mini-ramp, and ledges and curbs for grinding have been included to cater for all abilities. Meanwhile, an existing tree is the focal point of the space. Located in the middle of the park, it acts as a "volcano" surrounded at the base by curved concrete so skateboarders can interact with it.
In an email, Ralf Maier said that a "key aspect" was the "painting of skatepark with the logo of skate-aid. It gives the park colorful nuances and keeps a picture in your mind."
The same principle was also applied to the skatepark in Bethlehem. In this case, a group of young artists from aptART (Awareness & Prevention Through Art) complimented the skatepark with a splash of color. The vibrant hues employed on the curvaceous concrete enliven the space which would otherwise be suspect to anonymity, fading into the gray surroundings of the vicinity.
Here, the children have a place that is both visually and physically stimulating, but more importantly, have a place to call their own.
We were able to get input and design from all kinds of skaters and BMXers so it was crowd-sourced before crowd sourcing was cool. We organized skaters back in 2006. The final design is innovative and allows it to be used by the entire public not just skaters and other ”wheelers”. It will be a place for all types of people and park users to gather.The skate park will be part of a 1.9-acre addition to the 325-acre downtown park’s southwest corner, between South Michigan Avenue and the Metra Electric District railroad tracks. The city will sell the land to the Park District for one dollar, assuming that sale is approved as expected at a City Council meeting on Wednesday.