Vans takes over the Strand with a skatepark

Skate-able architectural forms will be integrated into public space.

Vans: public skate sessions and pro demonstrations will take place
Vans: public skate sessions and pro demonstrations will take place

Sports footwear and apparel brand Vans will be taking over part of the Strand with a purpose-built, pop-up skatepark.

For two weeks from 8 September, a stretch of the Strand outside the entrance to Somerset House that has been transformed into a pedestrianised area will be home to the skatepark.

Working with skatepark designers and builders Betongpark, the temporary, street-inspired setup is designed to be enjoyed by skaters of any level. The obstacles aim to promote how skate-able architectural forms can be integrated into public space as sources of visual engagement and enrichment. They will act as landmarks for skate culture, showcasing the positive impact skateboarding can have on local communities, mental health, well-being and enrichment of youth culture.

There will also be a schedule of programming for "Skate the Strand" that includes free skate lessons, pro demos, open public skate sessions and a session hosted by women's skate collective Neighbourhood Skate Club.

A celebration event will mark the end of Somerset House's "No comply: skate culture and community", taking place on the exhibition's penultimate day, 18 September.

"Skate the Strand'' is a collaboration between Vans, Westminster City Council and Somerset House in association with the "No comply" exhibition. It is also part of Westminster City Council's Inside Out Festival, launched in August, which is bringing art, entertainment and culture to the streets of the borough, and the wider "Westminster Reveals" campaign that comprises a lineup of events.

The project was born from these partners to showcase and celebrate skateboarding's inclusive creative culture, alongside aspiration to drive change in how shared urban space can be developed and used by all.

"Skate the Strand" marks a key moment in an ongoing plan from Westminster City Council and its partners to redevelop/reset Strand Aldwych into a contemporary, traffic-free public space. From 22 August the Strand became a pedestrian/cycle Zone (between 1 Aldwych and Melbourne Place).

Cllr Matthew Green, cabinet member for business, licensing and planning at Westminster City Council, said: "This month we saw a once busy and polluted stretch of the Strand transformed into a brand-new pedestrianised area for Westminster's communities and visitors. And following the huge skateboarding successes from Team GB at the recent Olympics, what better way to celebrate this new public space than with our exciting 'Skate the Strand' project? With the trucks and buses of traffic jams replaced by the trucks and decks of skateboards, we want the Strand to be dominated by different sets of four wheels as people come to enjoy this fantastic sport, right in the heart of London.

"We have an exciting calendar of activity happening over the coming months as part of the Inside Out festival. This fits into our wider plans to encourage visitors back into Westminster as part of our vision for the safe and successful reopening of our city, as well as our longer-term vision for the Strand Aldwych area."

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