This paper explores a symbolic environmental schema of skateboarding through the concept of ‘grey spaces’. We provide evidence of how skateboarding demonstrates a greyness – political and environmental ambiguities, contradictions, liminality, nuances and paradoxes – to outdoor urban leisure in the Anthropocene. We build on a chromatic turn in leisure studies which attends to blue and green spaces; however, we shift focus from the therapeutic discussion of nature that tends to underscore that turn to a contested realm of urban grey spaces. A concept of ‘greyness’ is adopted to connote not simply the urban but also the ambivalence of polluted leisure and the ambiguous position of skateboarding working as pollutant, and a form of alternative sustainability, while acting with complicity in neoliberal processes that contribute to escalating consumption and the proliferation of concrete spaces of play. In framing skateboarding in both the material and symbolic space of greyness, we seek to stimulate discussion about the greyness of leisure in the Anthropocene beyond skateboarding.
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© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
- Grey spaces
- Polluted leisure
- Urban leisure