Save Suvilahti Skatepark (short documentary)

Press Release By April Jones (Film Director)


The Suvilahti Skatepark vs. The City of Helsinki: An Urgent Call to Action

Current Status: Red Alert

Helsinki, Finland – June 24, 2024 – The Suvilahti Skatepark Organization faces demolition as it battles against major city development plans. This ongoing pressing issue is the subject of a new short documentary aimed at rallying community support to save this global cultural landmark.

For over a decade, the Suvilahti Skatepark has been a thriving cultural hub of the Helsinki skateboarding community. Established after the “accidental” demolition of the Wamma DIY Park, the city granted the land and a lease agreement to the skateboarders. Recognized by the city for its cultural significance, the skatepark now finds itself under threat as commercial interests take precedence.

The Suvilahti Skatepark Organization has legally contested the decision to demolish the skatepark, arguing that the Helsinki City Council's actions violate Section 135 of the Municipality Act and Section 54(2) of the Land Use and Building Act. These laws mandate that urban development should foster a healthy, safe, and pleasant living environment while preserving unique cultural values.

Despite an initial denial, the organization has filed the right for a second appeal. If the right to file is accepted, the second appeal will be heard by the Supreme Court. This short documentary seeks to highlight this struggle and spread awareness, and to shed light on the stakes involved.

This short documentary to save Suvilahti was filmed in April 2024 during the world premiere of the Concrete Law film at the Night Visions Film Festival. The Concrete Law film is an award-winning feature length documentary that dives deep into the bureaucratic battle to save Channel Street Skatepark in San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA. Facing the threat of demolition, founders and advocates must navigate their way through political minefields to save their skatepark. This film captures the essence and grit of urban resilience and solidarity. A story that transcends skate culture and tests community perseverance in the face of political challenges. Directed by April Jones and Executive Producer Chris Nieratko.

“It’s rare that skaters fight the law and win but Concrete Law is a proof positive blueprint of how skateboarders can work with municipalities harmoniously to create DIYs around the world” - Chris Nieratko

We held a discussion panel and invited the city council to the film screening. The panel was hosted by Chris Nieratko who is Executive Producer of the Concrete Law film and skate industry veteran. The guest panelists included Tuomas ”Tume” Nyyssönen, youth worker at Helsinki City and skateboarder, Lauri Vassinen / KIRAFFI (Chasing The Spot - Finnish National Team), Stuba Nikula, previous Helsinki city employee, and Arttu Herva, the chairman of the Suvilahti Organization. The city council did not attend, but I am returning to Helsinki in two weeks to seek out interviews with city government and event hub investors.

How can we convince the city government that the importance of skateboarding as a subculture within our urban spaces is critical for the growth and development of our society? The question of whether there should be space for the underground DIY communities should not even be up for debate.

These skateparks serve as vital cultural hubs where young people can express themselves, build relationships, and find a sense of belonging that might otherwise be missing from their lives.

It is imperative that city governments recognize and preserve these subcultural spaces. They must work to integrate them into the broader urban landscape, acknowledging their value and allowing us as a DIY skate community to continue to thrive. It is our responsibility as skateboarders to stand up and fight for our spaces.

The mission continues.



You may contact April directly for inquiries and updates regarding this developing story.

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