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Design Meets Insight - Ep 4: Skate City - How This Urban Sport is Sparking Change

Welcome to Design Meets Insight, our podcast series where we share some of the fascinating and inspiring conversations we have with creators and innovators who work in and around the world of design. At Heta, our focus is on people and how we can create uplifting and delightful places for people to live well, now and into the future. This podcast is centred around just that, and explores how we can prioritise healthy living, social equality and resilience to create sustainable buildings, communities and cities.

27th January 2022
Design Meets Insights Podcast
Design Meets Insight - Ep 4: Skate City - How This Urban Sport is Sparking Change

A different kind of urban space.

Since the 1970’s, skateboarding has evolved to become increasingly inclusive and accessible, which in turn has shaped public realm in our cities to be more diverse, dynamic, and vibrant.

For this episode we spoke to Iain Borden, Vice-Dean Education and Professor of Architecture & Urban Culture at The Bartlett, UCL about how and why skateboarding has changed, and how accommodating its culture and community in the public spaces we design can be incredibly valuable.

Iain Borden’s research explores how architecture and cities are experienced and re-used by the public. In particular, he has completed an in-depth study of the urban practice of skateboarding, looking at how skateboarders adopt modern cities as their own pleasure-ground, creating a culture with its own architecture, clothes, attitudes and social benefits. His most recent book is called Skateboarding & the City: a Complete History (2019).

Instagram and Twitter: @iainborden

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Listen to the podcast

Great resources to check out.

Design and Development Guidance for Skateboarding, SkateboardingGB aims to support the creation skateparks and skateboard facilities, through advice on design, construction and build.

FAR Skate Foundation is a charitable organisation passionate about empowering young people.

Skatepal supports young people in Palestine through skateboarding.

Design Meets Insight is hosted by Namrata Krishna, Design Strategy Lead at Heta. This episode is guest curated by Nicky Wightman, Director of Emerging Trends at global real estate business Savills. The podcast is edited by Jon Mardlin. Original illustrations for each episode by Lorraine Chan.

We’d love to hear from you, so please get in touch at, or find us on LinkedIn at

Linkedin: Namrata Krishna

Linkedin: Nicky Wightman

Urban sports and Heta.

At Heta we’re currently working on the design of modular outdoor squash courts in urban public spaces to increase the sport’s visibility at a grassroots level and transform underused or meanwhile spaces. Much like skateparks or skating facilities, they will be public spaces that not only offer more accessible platforms and welcome wider audiences, but become gathering spaces for communities. Find out more below. 

Modular Urban Squash Courts


What people were saying [about London’s Southbank Undercroft] is, 'We want an element of difference and surprise and diversity in our public spaces…we want to see people of all different ages and backgrounds. We want to see, and hear, different colours and noises going on.' And the Undercroft delivers that in spades; it’s a different kind of item on the menu of urban space.

Heta Contact

Namrata Krishna

Heta Contact

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