Shaping cities from below - seminar 15.9.2023

Citizens, communities, and grassroots organisations have versatile resources and know-how that have the potential for sustainable urban development. By shaping the materiality of cities, people create new spaces for action and develop solutions to urban everyday problems. This seminar delves into the questions of how such bottom-up actions can lead to novel forms of collaboration in urban governance and contribute to urban planning and design as well as promote various aspects of sustainability.

Photo: Tom Quigley

Place: Lyhty, behind Tampere University Main building, City Centre Campus (Kalevantie 4, Tampere). On Google maps here.

Presentations will be shared on Zoom. Please use this link to join Zoom meeting.


10.15 Opening words

10.20 Doing politics and creating profession with DIY skatepark building, Mikko Kyrönviita/Tampere University

10.40 Process, prototype, park – Design of Jubileumsparken, Gothenburg, David Gough/Mareld Landskapsarkitekter

11.00 Forgotten Spaces to Future Cities: guerilla urbanism and sustainable development in Nottingham’s Tram Line Spot, Chris Lawton/Skate Nottingham

11.20 Discussion

12.00 End of the seminar


Chris Lawton is a lifelong skateboarder and also an activist and community organiser. He previously worked as an economic development and urban regeneration professional for the UK Government, then a Senior Lecturer in the Economics Department at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), before joining Skateboard GB, the National Governing Body for skateboarding in the UK, as Community Development Officer in April 2021. He co-founded Skate Nottingham in July 2017. Skate Nottingham is a social enterprise engaged in place-making, sports development and alternative education linked to Nottingham’s globally significant skateboarding community. Activities include development of skateparks and skateable spaces, provision of coached skateboarding sessions and wider youth development, small and large scale events and workshops linked to creative and cultural skills and the built environment.

David Gough is a landscape architect (LAR/MSA CMLI) with broad experience in planning, design and delivery of medium to large scale public and private projects. David developed an early interest in architecture through skateboarding. This interest then led him on to study landscape architecture at Leeds Metropolitan University. After graduating, David was employed by Lovejoy London/Capita Lovejoy Ltd in London for 10 years where he had the opportunity to work on many complex and innovative landscape projects including the Home Office headquarters in London and Olympic North Park in London for the 2012 Olympic Games along with a few of London’s first designed skate spots such as the tilted ledges at Mile End Park. In 2011 David moved to Sweden and as an employee of Varberg Municipality he was responsible for the design and project management of a large scale themed playground, several small city squares and a multipark – a multifunctional park space for street-related activities including skateboarding, streetbasket and parkour. Since 2014 David has worked at MARELD Landscape Architects, a private practice based in Gothenburg working extensively with project processes, prototyping and design of public spaces including Jubileumsparken, Gothenburg and Ekholmen skatepark, Linköping. David has also been Chairman of Mölndal skateboard club since 2014 where through public engagement and community consultation the club has delivered several smallscale skateboard events and a number of  temporary and permanent skateboarding facilities.

Mikko Kyrönviita is a doctoral researcher in environmental policy at Tampere University. He is a member of the research group of Politics of Nature and the Environment. He is doing his doctoral research about skateboarding and DIY (do-it-yourself) skatepark building culture. In his research, he is focusing on themes of everyday political action, learning and knowledge sharing as well as the ways how skaters’ self-organised and informal spatial appropriations and practices have resulted in new forms of collaboration in urban governance. He is also co-founder of the Insurgent Spatial Practices research collective at Tampere University. He is an active member of the local skate community and has been involved in planning the skateboarding programme at Sampo upper secondary school and developing collaboration with Tampere Film Festival.

Seminar is funded by STUE Action Grant.