LLSB’s campaign to save and revitalize Southbank is a shining example of what can be with regards to saving and preserving skateboarding’s historical spaces. While we’ve seen similar things happen at the West L.A. Courthouse with the help of funding from Nike, LLSB’s grassroots approach is nothing short of inspirational. SOLO just released its interview with LLSB’s Stuart Maclure and Louis Woodhead from Issue 36, which focuses on skateboarding and public spaces. You can read a couple of key points on what can be taken away for LLSB’s movement below.
What can others learn from the LLSB campaign?
L: I hope that it can inspire people to be proactive. Engaging with political and establishment systems as we did may not be a good vibe in every context, but being proactive to make the spaces around you more pleasant, or to open new spaces with creative potentials is always a good thing, I think – and London definitely needs more of this vibe.
S: That young people, and young skaters in particular, can actually have a major effect on our cities. Cities should not be seen as places that just make money, and campaigning to protect skating is an important part of rejecting that idea. Strong communities are a very powerful thing.
What does the Southbank campaign and its success stand for in times of gentrification and privatization of public spaces?
L: London is changing very rapidly, and in many senses, this seems quite uncontrollable. It’s getting more and more expensive and more and more controlled: privatizations of public space, ever-increasing use of CCTV and private security guards, increasingly homogeneous architecture, stricter licensing laws, lack of affordable rentals, etc. etc. All of this makes it a lot harder for cool things to occur. Southbank shows that you can stand up to this tide – and even if it’s just one success, it certainly means something.
S: The restoration campaign has shown that we cannot only protect existing creative spaces, but we can also create more spaces like Southbank. The campaign represents the value of these spaces and has been influential in the way that decision makers look at the public realm. It’s helped the skateboard community be better recognized as a legitimate and supported part of society and the identity of our city.
Read the full interview here.