Skating By

Dear Tulane Community:

First a disclaimer: This might not come as a surprise to you, but I don't know much about skateboarding. However, our School of Architecture apparently does. Students in the School of Architecture's Tulane City Center are building an entrance garden, seating, bike racks, basketball court and other amenities they designed for Parisite, New Orleans' first official skatepark, located just off Paris Avenue at Interstate 610.

Why is this important? Well, as skaters are fond of pointing out -- skateboarding is not a crime. In fact, some cities have found that the presence of a well-maintained area for skateboarding has actually made municipal parks safer. Moreover, as the sport grows in popularity among young people and its top performers prepare for their Olympic debut in 2016, everyone from city planners to parents are recognizing the sport's value in teaching skills and building community, especially among urban youth.

Of course, tensions still remain among property owners, residents and skaters over what areas of the urban landscape are appropriate for skateboarding and which aren't. This is where efforts like Parisite can help by providing young people with a safe and designated spot for recreation, by revitalizing underused property and by improving community relations. Such efforts also provide our School of Architecture students with invaluable real-life skills and experience that will prepare them for leadership in their profession and in their communities.

So even if you don't know an ollie from a railslide, I hope you are stoked by this latest example of Tulane innovation and engagement for the betterment of our beloved city and its youth.