So the two sites I chose to study were Birrarung Marr and Flagstaff gardens. These locations were chosen in first semester as they were actually declared ‘skate safe’ zones by Melbourne City council. The first site (Birrarung Marr) is located just behind Federation Square. The riverside views attract tourists and other visitors. This means that I am more likely to design an obstacle that is sculptural in form. It does not need to be recognised as a piece of seating. If there is nobody skating it then I believe people would see it as a piece artistic sculpture that can be climbed on, sat on, and slid down. Surprisingly there are little/ no recreational sports happening in this park.
There were a few locations in the park that I took photos of and analysed. These were the main criteria that should be met:
- Should be a relatively flat site uninterrupted by poles, trees and other obstructions.
- Should have a decent size run-up (preferably already concreted).
- Needs to be an area with few pedestrians walking, cycling, jogging past.
- Needs to have a safe distance between the river, roads, playgrounds.
As I was walking through the park I realised that there were 2 suitable sites connected by a downhill ramp. I had assumed I was going to use a single site with a flat surface. This means I could install 2 obstacles and skaters will be able to set up a “run” (A series of tricks). And because of the downward slope it means they can use little effort when skating between obstacles (No pushing = easy skate).
Main path through Birrarung Marr- Red zone is experienced skaters and yellow for Intermediate.
Main path looking at experienced skate zone.
Flagstaff Gardens is the second site. I was analysing it using the same set of criteria. The park is a lot more structured and feels like it is maintained regularly by personnel. The north side of the park is closest to the apartments and other housing facilities. It has been designed for recreational purpose. It has a tennis court, basketball court, a large lawn bowls course, and a children’s playground. It has a relaxed atmosphere where people can sit on the grass and have a picnic or do other recreational activities. It is also opposite to the Victoria Market.
The South side of the park is facing the business buildings. There are only public seats and bins. People pass by quickly. Because it is in such a “business” district it is well maintained and looked after. This park is less about design and more about function and efficiency. There are at least 12 pathways that intercept each other, connecting every corner of the park. This makes travel times faster when walking. The park also slopes downwards from North to south. This means I will be able to set up a range of obstacles on different paths so that skaters can choose their own direction depending on their skill level.
Flagstaff Gardens- Yello is the intermediate course and the blue is the beginners course.
Intersection where beginners and intermediate courses seperate.
The park is busiest during the morning and afternoon peak hour because it is connected to Flagstaff Train Station.
Because this is a business district I will be making my seats look a bit more recognisable. The people using the south side of the park are more likely to use a seat that looks practical. I will be designing them for beginners and intermediate level skaters. This will mean that there will be “Low Risk” tricks being performed on these obstacles.