Rotterdam, Westblaak Skatepark


The municipality developed the skatepark 10 years ago, since then it has become a point of reference for hundreds of kids. High management costs and complaints from neighboring firms are forcing the municipality to dismantling the area. Gabriela, educator of the Skatepark and person of reference for many kids, talks openly about the importance of having this kind of area.


Kids’ chatter, claps for a well-made trick, and skateboard noise are the main background to Gabriela’s reflections and fears: “Where will all these kids go if they close the Skatepark? Where?”

Managing such a structure has extremely high maintenance costs. The steel walls of the ramps and half pipes have to be fixed and substituted on an yearly basis; while benches, fencings, and ground surfaces must always be in extremely good conditions in order not to harm any kid during his activities.


“There are quite a number of homeless kids, here they have the chance to meet their friends and feel normal for some time..” . This is one of the reasons why Gabriela loves her job. She likes to get in contact with kids that are only few years older than her sons and be a sort of older sister who listens to the i-pod with them and listens to their problems and fears.

She even tries some tricks with the skates.. “But I am not as crazy as they are”, she clarifies.

“Here we had some great skaters like Tony Hawk! Do you believe that, man?” Here kids dream about becoming like them one day and they train a lot for that reason.”


“If these kids will not have this place anymore, where will they go?”

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© 2018 Matteo Castagna Photographer
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