Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles [ Music ] [ Applause ] >> So I love parkour because I love to study cities, and I love to study exactly how we learn how to behave in cities. [ Music ] [ Laughter ] So that's parkour, just a little hint of what you just saw is parkour. So, one of the things I really am passionate about, one of the things I really love to, to learn about is, like I said, the rules that we sort of learn and how, expectations of behavior in city space. And I think parkour directly kind of challenges that. Sort of points to it as arbitrary, because there's nothing necessarily natural about a sidewalk, per se, right? We sort of make the rules on what these things mean. And so I think parkour can teach us a lot about city space and kind of how to look at it differently. And one of my favorite places to do parkour is in Indianapolis, I grew up outside of Indianapolis, and this is a parking garage right on the corner of Michigan Street and Alabama, and it's set up perfectly for, for parkour, which, you know, isn't it's intended use, but we have [laughter], I have this wonderful space inside, just to give you an idea of what it looks like, and so I'm running up the, up the stairs and I'm sort of vaulting from rail to rail and, you know, you can feel the materials, you can feel the concrete, and it's kind of slick and dusty and oddly cold, and I'm making way up to the roof, and these guys sort of look at me, as I'm there that day, and they look at me really strange, like, you know, what's this guy doing? Is he sort of out of his mind? And the reason those looks come about is because there's nothing, or the, the expectation of that space and the behavior that you sort of expect to see that, that violates that script, like we see the stairs, we see the parking garage, and we sort of know what's supposed to happen, right? And parkour looks odd, because it's at odds or it's incongruent with the rules that we sort of made up for that space . So I make my way up to the roof and I sort of look over Indianapolis and I'm looking over Mass Ave. and the sort of the, the arts and cultural district of that section of the city. Indianapolis is set up on an X, and in the middle is a circle, it's what I call the Circle City. And you can see that kind of that, that planned space, and you look over and you can, and, and the city just looks like a, like a playground, and it looks like you can just do anything you want. And part of the reason is is because, traceurs, the people who do parkour, they develop what they call a parkour vision. And if we see the, the picture here is the example. That red arrow shows us, like, that's the walkway, you're supposed to go down that walkway, and you have the wall here and you have the building here, and conventional wisdom sort of tells you that you're supposed to take that, you see that, it's a, it's a visible knowledge of space and it just makes sense to go that direction. But with parkour, you have the, the parkour vision and you have options. So you can kick off the wall and you can grab the other wall and climb up, and you see the guy jumping from roof to roof, and some of our bodies and our minds won't let us do that, but it, it does give us options and ways we can see space differently. And so parkour was developed circa 80's-ish, to give you an exact date, so, David Belle, the guy here in the, in the picture, he was the founder of parkour and was built on the maxim to be useful to be strong. Or, I'm sorry, be strong to be useful. And he developed it as an art of motion, or an art of movement, that helps you get through or, or pass any obstacle in your path. And the idea is to get from point A, excuse me, to point B as quickly and efficiently as possible. And just like you, you develop your body in parkour, you develop your body to be strong, to be fit and flexible, and adaptable, but just like you develop your body in parkour, you also develop your mind. So there's a very spiritual component to parkour, and once you, once you've trained your body, the idea for the traceur is that you, you sort of have to train the mind to, to go along with it. So you develop the mental, the mental strength as well as the physical strength. So, just like if you're, if you, you see the gap from the roof to the roof and your body tells you, like, don't jump, you know, unless you're, unless you're like on the Grand Canyon and then your body tells you to jump, oddly enough [laughter]. So, in parkour, you see the roof and the other roof, and you're like I don't know if I can make the gap and so you've got this fear going, but you've trained to mind and your body to work together, to sort of culminate in this wonderful traceur thing, and you jump the roof and, and, and that fear is part of the experience, right? And overcoming that obstacle, fear is just like overcoming the obstacle, the physical obstacle. And so, you, the, the idea for the traceur is that if you can sort of come to grips with that fear and get over mental obstacles, that can translate into other aspects of your life as well. So if you're afraid to, say, give a talk to a room full of 1,000 people while you're on camera, right, it can help you do that too [laughter]. And so, traceurs have a very intimate relationship with, with space and architecture. And the reason being is that, you know, you're connected to it, parkourily they're connected to it, and they feel it, and they're in it and they work with it, and architecture communicates to them the types of moves or the types of behaviors that it, it will require for them to move through that environment. So if they're in a more tight-knit space, for example, there's going to be more climbing, more vaulting for height instead of for length. And if they're in a more loose space or more open space, it's going to require more running and more jumping across gaps, or what you see here is a pre, excuse me, a precision jump. And so if you think about how architecture communicates with a traceur, just like, or, or communicates to us as well, in that it'll, it'll communicate sort of expected behaviors. So if you think about a tight-knit urban space, it's going to, to require different sort of interactions, or invite different interactions in a more loose space or more open space, like a rural environment. And the more, the more that we have those interactions, the more it develops a kind of, of a value, or an expectation of behavior. And in the way that those spaces are, are set up will inform or, or give us an expectation of how we're, we're supposed to interact. And so these spaces are designed intentionally to give us experiences, or designed to sort of elicit certain experiences from us. Here's an example in France at a museum where, you know, the space, itself, is intended to, to give you access to the museum, and you're intended to, to go there and experience it in that way, and they're saying formally, like if you're going to go counter to this experience of how we have it set up, then we're not responsible, essentially, for that, that out of the norm behavior. Excuse me. And so city spaces are designed to get us to do all kinds of things. So we see the, the signs and the symbolage [phonetic], we have the street and the sidewalks and all of those, those things are sort of put together to give us a shared sensibility of the space, and so we all kind of have this, this, this shared sense of how to use it, and the, the behaviors are expected, and often times these, these expectations and, and how they're set up are most visible when they're violated. So if you see someone standing in the middle of the street, for example, that looks odd, or it looks at odds with our rational thoughts, or what we've come to know as rational thoughts. If you see someone sitting in the middle of the sidewalk, you know, like we're trying to walk down this sidewalk, it doesn't make any sense, it's counter to what we expect of that space, and so we have, the cities are set up to get us to do certain things, access functions, and, and they come, they, they develop expectations of how to, to use it. And one of the, the best examples of how city space has been designed specifically to impact behavior is if we look at Old France. So, pre-Napoleon the third, Old France is sort of capricious, the streets don't make much sense, they're tiny, they're muddy, they're easily barricaded, which is really the problem, so if you don't like what the state is doing, you can barricade and you can revolt, right? So Napoleon comes in and he says, we're going to barricade-proof Paris. So he commissions the, the gutting, essentially, of the downtown area, and they really just wipe out all these streets and they make these incredibly wide boulevards. Specifically to, number one, it sanitizes the space, so disease isn't as rampant, so it has some benefits, but also it's easier to get an army straight down the street to squash any kind of revolution you might try. And the, the boulevards are wide enough that it's really almost impossible to barricade essentially four lanes of traffic, but we see this closer to home too, and Robert Moses who, who was in charge of much of the planning for New York City, specifically the access to the parks, the way that parks were designed and access to them. He designs the bridges on the Long Island Parkway to be a little bit lower so that commuter buses had a hard time or difficult time accessing those parks. So the idea was that, at the time, the commuter buses carried low income and minority groups, so it made it really difficult for them to access the parks, and so, you have this sort of discipline by designer, this discrimination by design without formally saying like you guys can't come here, and we see this at an individual level as well. Here's something we have on campus, these are called pig ears, and it's a, it's a design technique that they put on, on walls like this so people can't skateboard and rail down the wall, but it serves a dual function too, because the pig ear makes it uncomfortable to sit there, and it also makes it uncomfortable to lay there, so, you can't skateboard and it also is designed to keep people moving. Here's another thing we have on campus, it's called a baroque enclosure, and this is to keep people out of the nuclear reactor, but it has [laughter], the fence sort of has this daunting arch back this way, and you know the spikes, and there's, you know, physical consequences if you get into that fence. And you see this a lot in city space though. It's designed to kind of blend into the environment, and they use it for protecting the trash behind restaurants and they call it bum proofing, meaning that the homeless can't go and dig in the trash, and what that does is the people coming in the front of the restaurant feel more comfortable to spend money.