lion city skaters

Singapore's Heartland Skate Parks

Posted by LCS

Interview with Lion City Skaters by a Singapore Press Holdings reporter (January 2011):

Please note some of the information in this article is out of date.

This article is about the public skate parks in Singapore and why some of them are not as popular as others, or even under-utilised.

How many public skate parks are there in Singapore?

There are currently 12 skate parks in Singapore. Locations and pictures can be found on the skatepark directory. There are however, 3 additional skateparks that have not yet been added to the Singapore skate park directory. Woodlands (Scheduled to open 1st quarter 2011) Yishun (Scheduled to open 1st quarter 2011) Singapore Poly (Recently completed, however, the school is undecided if it will be open to the public or only poly students)

Update: Woodlands and Yishun skate parks have been built and are plagued by design and obstacle/ramp problems. The local skateboarding community was excluded from the design process. Much of the community is angry that these facilities lack critical features and are of a poor quality. Local skatepark vendors Playpoint and RetroMax are frowned upon by the skateboarding community in Singapore.

Of these, how many are heartland skate parks?

If you are asking how many of these skateparks are located within HDB estates. Nine of them are located next to HDB's. Somerset, East Coast Park, and Love Skatepark are not located close enough to HDB's to be considered heartland skateparks.

What do you think of the heartland skate parks?

Generally speaking, skateparks constructed within HDB estates have smaller budgets, which restricts the size and features of the park.

Are they well-used, or are they not popular. Or could you point out which are those which are unpopular and why? You mentioned they are poorly designed. Could you give some examples, (location and features)?

Rather than directly tell you which skateparks are not popular. It is easier for me to state that East Coast Skatepark (xtreme skate park) and somerset (scape) skatepark (not to be confused with the new scape building!) are the most popular. Somerset skatepark is lcoated in town and is very accessible by the mrt and buses. Because of this, the park attracts lots of action sports participants. East Coast Skatepark, is popular because it is the largest skate park. Bigger doesn't always mean better, but in this case the ground and obstacles are well designed and constructed. Having said this, improvements can be made to both skateparks.

What are the features which a skate park should have?

With the majority of skateboarders in Singapore and the world identifying themselves as “street skateboarders” skateparks should be designed after real street environments. Elements that make up a good skateboarding area are smooth ground, plenty of space, numerous lines of approach and an obstacle. Unfortunately, many skateparks in Singapore weren't designed to duplicate the real street setting that skateboarders love.

What are the common complaints you hear about heartland skate parks, or positive comments, if any you have received about heartland skate parks?

Common complaints that lioncityskaters often receives with regard to local skateparks include:

Lack of local community input
Poorly design layouts
Incorrectly sized obstacles
Lack of maintenance and upkeep Rough ground
Lack of shade and water fountains

Despite the complaints many skateboarders are very appreciative to have neighbourhood skateparks.

How long have you been on the skating scene here, and could you share more about your background in skating here?

I have 10 years knowledge of the extreme sports community in Singapore. I have officiated at various extreme sports events; local and overseas judge and coordinator. Organized and managed skateboarding demonstrations. I also helped establish Singapore’s first and only indoor skateboarding facility, Love Skatepark located at Horsecity. With the help of other local skateboarders I set up to provide information on skateparks and local skate scene in Singapore.

Do you think it's a good idea to have heartland skate parks? What purpose do you think they serve, or why do you think they were built? 

Yes, it is not only a good idea to have heartland skateparks but it is very important. Skateparks provide a place for teenagers and young adults to go and express themselves in an individual and athletic manner. Skateparks encourage people to spend time outdoors and engage in an activity that tests their endurance and develops their creativity. They provide a safer place for teenagers to roll about than the busy streets. It is important we give the youth the facilities to practice the sports they love. As more traditional sports like soccer and basketball decline in user participation and action and extreme sports rise in popularity it is vital the government and town councils recognize the changing atmosphere and provides these outlets.

What suggestions do you have regarding improving the skate parks or do you think they should be removed?

To improve the current skateparks an effort should be made to create a dialogue between users of these skateparks, the town councils and builders. With local skateboarder input and involvement when building or renovating heartland skateparks these citizens will develop a sense of ownership and pride. As mentioned earlier, the majority of skateboarders in Singapore identify themselves as “street skateboarders” and thus parks should be designed around this focal premise. No, they should not be removed. There are not enough heartland skateparks. As mentioned above these facilities provide numerous benefits. Some not already mentioned include personal and self-esteem building, social interaction and keeping the youth out of trouble. Getting at-risk kids involved in a sport is a great way to increase their confidence and set them on the right track in life. Heartland skateparks provide a safe place for the youth to practice the sports they love with the friends they care about. It gives them the opportunity to improve in sports and achieve small victories on a daily basis.

What is the impact of having heartland skate parks on the skating community?

Heartland skateparks provide skateboarders with the ability to practice their sport and hone in on their skills in their back garden so to speak. The larger skateparks at Somerset and East Coast may be far away from the heartland areas so having heartland skateparks provides kids and young adults with a facility that is close to their home, easily accessible and safe. Heartland skateparks create easier access for Singaporeans to try out and get involved with action sports like skateboarding.

What is the profile of the users of these heartland skate parks? are they mostly the teenagers/beginners/etc? Skaters profile?

This is hard to say. You would need to travel down to a few of the skateparks at different times during the day to get a rough gage. Vaguely speaking I would say kids, teenagers and young adults all utilize the parks. Age range 12-27 years old.

Do you have anything else to add?

Perhaps a better question to pose is: are town councils providing for the changing face of sports and youth interests. With skateboarding being one of the fastest growing sports in the world, providing alternative recreational activities to the young helps them develop healthy, active lifestyles. When town councils provide these facilities for the youth it helps them feel that the community is addressing their needs and helps them feel more connected and encourages good citizenship.

If you are considering building a skateboarding park contact us at!


Anonymous said...

very interesting thxx!

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