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Fri, Mar. 16th, 2007, 11:03 am
Le New Yourkeur

I love it that there’s a Le Parkour site for New York City! For those not familiar with it, Le Parkour’s an urban sport of running, rolling, jumping, leaping and climbing over buildings and other obstacles in an amazing display of catlike agility, athletic grace, and suicidal daring. This video gives a pretty decent sense of what it looks like, but searching for “parkour” on YouTube will get you plenty of others.

What I like about it - and what inspires a lot of game designers who are working between the digital and the real - is the way they turn the urban environment into a playground. I love the idea of looking at something in the ordinary world and seeing it playfully. Play is in the head, not in the artifacts that we use to play! At the same time, the affordances of everyday objects shape the kinds of play that are possible. I bet Le Parkour in New York looks very different from Le Parkour in Paris or, say, Jacksonville. It would be interesting to take a look at different Le Parkour communities in different places and see how they’ve evolved differently because of the different tools and toys they use to play with.