London’s West End transformed into a pop-up skate park

London’s West End transformed into a pop-up skate park

One of London’s busiest streets has swapped cars for skates.

Part of Strand has been closed to traffic and turned into a temporary skate park, where Londoners can enjoy free shows and lessons in an attempt to green the capital’s streets.

The park, a collaboration between Westminster City Council, Somerset House and the Vans shoe brand, is open between September 8 and September 24.

Helena Long, a professional skateboarder and gallery manager at Somerset House who helped come up with the idea, said: “I think London is beautiful, but there is a lot of hostile architecture.

“A skate park is inspiring to look at, and it inspires you to use public space in a different way, rather than just sitting and eating lunch.”

The skate park, located just outside the entrance to Somerset House, is being tested as the council finds out how the street can best pedestrians.

It also coincides with Somerset House’s ‘No Comply, Skate Culture and Community’ exhibition, which focuses on the skateboarding scene and how it shapes London and other cities.

Long believes that skateboarding is a unique way to get people involved in the city.

She said: “The park is something we as skateboarders respect because it is rare and we feel grateful to have it and we are careful with our surroundings.

“After being in the park a few times and working in Somerset House and the exhibits, people stop and look, and they really love it.”

Agnieszka Aga Wood, 47, founder of the social enterprise EVERYONE ON BOARD, says that skateboarding has a positive impact on the mental health of young people.

She said: “Not everyone can afford skating lessons, and Strand provides the perfect opportunity for children to get free access to skateboarding.

“I want to create a great ecosystem where everyone is happy and coexists.”

The park brings together skating architectural forms and public spaces and brings innovative visual engagement to the city.

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