This story originally appeared in Model D.

There’s a curvaceous new concrete landscape at Klinger Street and the Davison, in the Detroit neighborhood just north of Hamtramck, variously referred to as NoHam or Bangalatown (the latter after an influx of Bangledeshi immigrants that began in the 1970s). Depending on the time of day, there are likely figures in this new landscape, too, many in motion and some periodically airborne. In the short month and a half since it was built, Ride It Sculpture Park has already become something that so many neighborhoods in Detroit badly need: a focal point, a shared destination, a place for people -- especially young people -- to meet (or more to the point, in this case, a place for them to skate.)

The park, a new project organized by Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert's nonprofit Power House Productions, isn’t exactly officially open yet, but that doesn’t mean the skaters and BMX riders haven’t found it. There were 20 or so kids there when I visited one recent evening, ranging from about 10 to 20 years old.

"There’s rarely a time when no one's here," Reichert tells me after I express surprise to see it so bustling. When I asked Jordan, a 16-year-old skateboarder from Hamtramck, how he'd heard about Ride It, he answered matter-of-factly, "It's kinda hard not to."

Currently the site, occupying four once-vacant commercial lots purchased from the city, consists of several traditional skate park elements (bowl, quarter pipe, hip, and corner bank), a grill (that’s not skater lingo - you cook on it), some trees, and a lot of dirt. Construction, performed by skate park builders and professional skaters from the West Coast, began in late June. (Check out Curbed Detroit’s construction photo gallery here.) This is Phase 1 of the project, which still requires a little "buttoning up," as Reichert puts it: some post-construction clean-up and the installation of more fencing and signage.

Phases II and III are forthcoming over the next couple years as more funding is secured. They will involve the installation of sustainable landscaping elements to green the space and manage rainwater, the construction of sculptures that skaters can actually skate on, and the transformation of the neighboring alley into a street course. The course will eventually lead into Skate House, a formerly vacant home in which skaters will be able to rent helmets, repair their boards, and ... skate. "It's all about flow," Reichert says, describing a circuit that will lead from inside the house to the street course to the park. (For a preliminary sense of what it looks like to skate inside the house, watch this video from Power House Productions.)

If you’ve missed what the Powerhouse has been up to for the past four years, you can get an idea here. In short, Reichert and Cope, along with a number of their friends and neighbors, have been working to stabilize their neighborhood through the purchase and rehabilitation of vacant homes, turning them into models of sustainable energy, community construction projects, and singular art and living experiences. Theirs is a remarkable, multidisciplinary endeavor, existing at the intersection of art, architecture, sustainable design, placemaking, community building, social activism, and sports.

Ride It is something new: the application of Powerhouse principles and practices to a landscape. It was motivated in part by the couple’s fondness for skateboarding, as well as their desire to add some sculptured variety and community-strengthening activity to their neighborhood.

The project exists thanks to an extraordinary show of support from members of the local, national, and international skating communities. Local skate shop Chiipss, for example, which recently relocated from Plymouth to Hamtramck, raised $25,000 through Good Wood, an auction of skateboard decks embellished by more than 80 artists (gallery here). In late June, thousands of skaters descended on Detroit for Emerica’s Wild in the Streets, an annual mass skating event that takes place in a different city in the US or abroad each year. The afterparty, at Modern Skate Park in Royal Oak, was also a fundraiser for Ride It. Meanwhile, Boards for Bros, a nonprofit based in Tampa, organized the distribution of around 60 free skateboards to kids in the neighborhood. And they’re using them!

Ride It attracts a diverse crowd (though largely, but not exclusively, a male one). There are the neighborhood kids, mostly Bangladeshi- and African-American, many of whom are making their first, tentative forays into skating thanks to their new boards. Then there are the more experienced skaters and BMX bikers from the surrounding city and suburbs, hungry to try out this new place that’s both designated for them and, importantly, free.

The kids from Bangalatown are proud of their park, and eager to see it continue to grow. They help clean it up and keep an eye on it, and one of the youngest made sure I knew he’d been skating there since the very first day it was skateable. The ones who ride or drive over from elsewhere are amazed it exists at all, saying there’s nothing else like it in the area. And everyone there just seems glad to have something to do. (A 19-year-old named Vonté tells me he comes three or four times a week, staying for eight or nine hours a stretch.)

There’s an easy peace among all these kids from such distinct backgrounds and traditions. Different crews inevitably commingle, share tips and stories, and comment on each other’s performance. ("That’s easy," one skater opines loudly, observing another’s trick. A moment later, a little more respectfully: "That’s not.") Maybe there’s something about skateboarding, with its risk-taking and its succession of small failures and exhilarating triumphs, that breaks down ethnic, age, and psychogeographic boundaries. It’s easy to see, from the window of an airplane, that the borders that separate people are arbitrarily drawn; maybe it’s possible to catch a glimpse of that by launching skyward off a quarter pipe, too.

Matthew Piper authors Green City Diaries each month in Model D.

Below, check out photos of skaters at June's Wild in the Streets mass skate in Detroit.

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  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    24-year-old Auttiesh Danger of Grand Rapids warms up for Wild in the Streets on Go Skateboarding Day (June 21) in Detroit at the Bagley Pedestrian Bridge in Detroit's Mexicantown. "We came out just to be a part of history in the making," he told The Huffington Post. "The Emerica team is here. They got Michigan live. They got Detroit. They got the city live -- all of us came out. I know there's going to be thousands, thousands of kids out here."

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Mike Hoag, 23, of Grand Rapids practices at the Bagley Pedestrian Bridge in Detroit's Mexican Town. "Brought the whole team out here," he told The Huffington Post. "We got three carloads deep of people coming out. It's about to be going down in the D."

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    These skaters are part of an amateur skateboard team from Grand Rapids, Mich. They showed up at the Bagley Pedestrian Bridge In Detroit's Mexicantown at about 9 a.m. in anticipation of the Ninth Annual Wild in the Streets event in Detroit. Pictured from left to right: Mike Hoag, Kenny Hoag, Auttiesh Danger, John Tod.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    After the ride to Eastern Market, skaters get their tricks... down at the tennis courts!

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Skaters participating in Wild in the Streets warm up at Hart Plaza before the ride around noon on June 21, 2012.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Skaters participating in Wild in the Streets warm up at Hart Plaza before the ride around noon on June 21, 2012.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Skaters participating in Wild in the Streets warm up at Hart Plaza before the ride around noon on June 21, 2012.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Skaters participating in Wild in the Streets warm up at Hart Plaza before the ride around noon on June 21, 2012.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Wipeout! Skaters participating in Wild in the Streets warm up at Hart Plaza before the ride around noon on June 21, 2012.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Skaters participating in Wild in the Streets warm up at Hart Plaza before the ride around noon on June 21, 2012.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Skaters participating in Wild in the Streets warm up at Hart Plaza before the ride around noon on June 21, 2012.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Jaimmy Miller, 16, of Farmington, Mich. (left) is pictured here with Emerica's global brand director TImothy Nickloff, 35. Miller said he was at the event to honor the memory of his friend, skateboarder Ryan Gaynier, who died in a car accident over the weekend. "It's all for him in my opinion," said Miller.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Wicked! The ride begins at Hart Plaza.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Skaters roll out at Hart Plaza.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Around 2,000 skateboarders take to the streets for Go Skateboarding Day 2012 in Detroit. Here they're cruising north on Woodward Avenue.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Wiiillldd in the Streets!

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    More skating on the streets of Detroit for Go Skateboarding Day.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Around 2,000 skateboarders take to the streets for Go Skateboarding Day 2012 in Detroit.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Wild in the Street-ers turn down Mack Avenue towards Eastern Market.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Skaters from Eastern Market to an abandoned tennis court to show off some tricks and chill out.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    This skateboarder is clearly enjoying this once-in-a-lifetime Detroit moment.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Some of the Wild in the Streets crew get real wild and take a detour into Detroit's Cass Corridor.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    A few of the skateboarders take a short break on a detour into the Cass Corridor.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    After a slight detour, skaters return to Woodward Avenue.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Benjamin Schwandt, 23 of Mt. Clemens and Justin Bohl, 27, of Clawson took a slight detour and wait for the rest of the pack to catch up with them. Bohl said he and his friend came "just to skate and hang out with all our friends, people from all over Michigan -- and even from out of state." He added: "There's quite a few pro skateboarders here too who are legends in the skateboarding world. to see them and skate through the streets of Detroit is pretty amazing."

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    The Wild in the Streets crowd start the rush to get wild in the courts.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Skaters show their skills down at the abandoned tennis courts near Eastern Market and I-75.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Skaters show their skills down at the abandoned tennis courts near Eastern Market and I-75.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Skaters show their skills down at the abandoned tennis courts near Eastern Market and I-75.

  • Wild In The Streets Detroit

    Some skaters check out the fun down on the courts from a nearby building.

  • Posing

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Andrew_Geller"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1801965889/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Andrew_Geller">Andrew Geller</a>:<br />Emerica pro Brandon Westgate poses for a picture with 16 year old Andrew Geller from Birmingham, MI at Hart Plaza.

  • Sun setting at Hart Plaza - still skating.

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Reci715"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1722841065/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Reci715">Reci715</a>:<br />My buddy Fan and some awesome skaters at Hart Plaza near sundown.

  • Ed Templeton

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Lauren_Montgomery"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/1255107-tiny.png?20101010141342" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Lauren_Montgomery">Lauren Montgomery</a>:<br />The amazing Ed Templeton. Sporting a Lieca film camera around his neck. A pleasure to meet and photograph. (C) Lauren Montgomery

  • Jerry Hsu

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Lauren_Montgomery"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/1255107-tiny.png?20101010141342" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Lauren_Montgomery">Lauren Montgomery</a>:<br />Who doesn't love Jerry Hsu, Pro Skater for Emerica. Photo by Lauren Montgomery.

  • Brandon Robinson, Jerry Hsu, and Steve Carmickle

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Lauren_Montgomery"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/1255107-tiny.png?20101010141342" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Lauren_Montgomery">Lauren Montgomery</a>:<br />Pro skater Hsu with two Detroit skateboarders. Photo by Lauren Montgomery

  • Bryan Herman

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Lauren_Montgomery"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/1255107-tiny.png?20101010141342" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Lauren_Montgomery">Lauren Montgomery</a>:<br />Pro skater Bryan Herman of Emerica. Photo by Lauren Montgomery

  • Wild In The Streets, Detroit 2012

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Lauren_Montgomery"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/1255107-tiny.png?20101010141342" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Lauren_Montgomery">Lauren Montgomery</a>:<br />Photo by Lauren Montgomery

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