Date of Award

August 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Urban Studies

First Advisor

Joel Rast

Committee Members

Amanda Seligman, Robert Schneider


Building, DIY skateparks, DIY urbanism, Do-It-Yourself, Skateboarding


The purpose of this study is to introduce the reader to Do-It-Yourself (DIY) skateparks by sharing how they come to fruition, how they thrive, and are destroyed in urban landscapes. The goal of this thesis is to document a thorough understanding of how DIY skateparks are organized and managed in contemporary urban environments. Exploring the relationship DIY skateparks have with mental maps, informal rules, subcultures, and legal frameworks can help the reader understand the ways that DIY skateparks impact the urban environments around them. Looking at two well-known and frequented DIY skateparks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – ‘National DIY’ and ‘Estabrook DIY,’ – I managed interviews, took notes, and conducted participatory observations. Through those practices, I was able to better understand the unique relationships that participants have with informal DIY skateparks that they do not have with formal public skateparks or privatized skateparks. In this study I learned that DIY skateparks are self-governed spaces that foster community, protest sanctioning of public space, and challenge the legal frameworks of shared space. These spaces thrive and inspire participants, despite the uncertainty of their survival.