Where ever there are skateboarders, there are cops determined to make sure they don’t have any fun on public property, and consequently, there are DIY skateparks. Photographer Rich Gilligan has spent the last five years traveling the world and documenting DIY skate culture, and in a long-ranging interview with Co.Designhe describes his process and inspiration.

“What I found interesting as a photographer was the ramshackle nature of these humble structures in direct contrast to everything that surrounds them.” Gilligan, a longtime skater himself, says.

“Some people have likened it to wild animals building dens in the wild,” he adds. “I really love that comparison–skaters have been turning shit situations into positive outcomes since day one. They look at the world around them with a cunning and imaginative eye.”

See some of Gilligan’s photos above.

(Photos: Richard Gilligan)