Homogenization/Fragmentation: Can Skateboarding Influence Big Box Design?
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The city is a producer of two types; Homogenization (sameness) and Fragmentation (difference)! This dichotomy is a balance that must be struck to sustain a city’s cultural identity. Homogenization is something epitomized by Big-Box Retail. Low cost, large inventory and global capital fuel rapid growth of companies like Wal-Mart, Home-Depot and IKEA. One could look to the anti-thesis of Homogenization; Fragmentation, in hopes of creating alternative growth types. One phenomenon that is known for breaking away from rules, markets and homogenization is skateboarding. Dependent on the creativity of the individual, a Skateboarders only device is a thirty six inch long, seven ply, piece of lumber custom molded to hold feet two point five inches off the ground, mounted on trucks, attached to wheels. Skateboarding is the Fragment broken away from Homogenized urban types. In Portland, a proposal for Big-Box development has occurred at a site known as Burnside Bridgehead. One important element of this development that will go overlooked is the world famous Burnside Skate Park. In 1990 the Burnside Skate Park was constructed by local youths underneath the Burnside Bridge who wanted a ramp sheltered from the rain. This paper will look at the development of Burnside Bridgehead as a Big Box influenced by skateboarding in a bold way. Will Portland’s dichotomy create a new urban condition, where the Fragmented influences the Homogenous?