Parkour is a training methodology which enables participants to move in an totally alternative way through urban environment.
Parkour started in France in the beginning of the 1990s, where people aimed to quickly overcome obstacles in their environment, by only using their bodies and surrounding objetcts to help themselves moving. In the beginning it was a playful method of the children manner playing catch in urban environment.
But it developed quickly by involving difficult obstacles like walls, stairs, fences or fronts of buildings.
The sport includes jumping, running, climbing, rolling and pulling up hindrances. The idea of turning playful situations into system-changing or society-changing situations originates from the Situationist International, an art association from the 1960 (you can read more about the Situationists International here).
The movement also tries to find the way to keep improving and eventually to reach the greatest physical potential and to use the potential of existing public space and transform it into a moving and athletic environment.
By using their bodies, existing objects and buildings to move around in cities, the so called “Traceur” (people doing Parkour) not just uses the city to move in, they also use the city to move through it. It is an artform of overcoming the urban borders as well as the physican borders of your body- an urban transformation.
It´s also about retaking urban space in a time where public space gets privatized more and more and used for commerical purposes, as if to say “public space for everyone”.
Thus Parkour is an important part of the discourse about using public space.
Traceurs create a new-invention of urban space. It´s makes people seeing their city and urban environment in a different way, in which they have never thought of before.