Craig: I want to keep digging into this idea about creating implicit, maybe even explicit, movement snacks kind of signs, but implicit permission for people to play. A very common theme, everybody has heard this is you say, “Well, we’re going to try and get people to …” Let’s say [00:05:00] work out on a bench here, “How many ways can you find to get over this bench?” Then, somebody immediately goes, “But there’s a risk of danger there.” How do we balance that perception of risk? Do we balance that perception of risk, or do we try to dispel that perception?
Caitlin: I think a lot of people exaggerate the risk in their head. Again, a lot of — if we go Parkour specific — there are already these preconceived notions of what Parkour is. [00:05:30] But even with play and jumping around, any sort of rough-housing, there’s always this kind of aversion. Across the board in how I talk to city officials and groups looking to implement something for play or Parkour, even in the form of programs, the concerns are always security and safety of the participants or of the assets of the park, the infrastructure of the park, or even fear of legal repercussion.
[00:06:00] However, I think that humans are fairly… have a very strong sense of self preservation. A lot people are fairly cautious as it is to begin with their movement. I think that if we are constantly taking risk out of our play spaces and out of our parks in entirety, you’re only going to get boring spaces. Risk gives you choice, and it gives you opportunity to explore and challenge yourself. [00:06:30] Risk is a choice, and you have to learn how to negotiate acceptable and unacceptable risks in our lives. Play is a very safe space to learn how to do that. Like I said, if you remove it …
Craig: Right. You’re taking the value out of the movement.
Caitlin: Exactly. As I said, you get left with boring public spaces, boring playgrounds like the out-of-the-box systems that you see popping up everywhere. Yeah, how many times have I been to a playground, you see there’s a giant, colorful [00:07:00] play structure thing and none of the kids are on it. They’re actually over there playing with the dirt and stone, whatever it is, or the metal they found laying around about, because there’s nothing …
Craig: Yeah. The designers of that play space that we’re talking about, they removed the creativity that was necessary in order to play. Then the kids, who are inherently creative and inherently seeking to fulfill that urge to be creative, they don’t go at the place space. They go at the picnic table.
Caitlin: Yeah, exactly, because there’s more of an open ended question there to answer, something [00:07:30] creative, something worth exploring. You’re not being told what to do or how to do it.
Craig: Obviously we’re talking about western culture here, because that where we are. In our culture along the way the normalcy of play just went away. If you are an adult and you’re out balancing on a railing, that’s abnormal and you’re going to get sideways looks and glances. How do we get that back? How do we move people back to seeing humans balancing on a railing and just thinking [00:08:00] that’s normal?
Caitlin: Right, absolutely. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do with these kind of invitations. I think that people need to re-discover play for themselves if they’re going to be tolerant of play coming from other people. Because again there’s such a strong disconnection for so many people from what their bodies can actually do, because their experience is going to work, sitting down all day. They don’t actually understand what the human body is capable of, or rather what their human body … It’s not an exception to be able [00:08:30] to balance. It’s not exception to be able to jump. Everyone should be able to balance and jump and climb.
Craig: That’s your birthright. That’s the way your body works.
Caitlin: Exactly. It’s the universal human language, movement. I think that the most important thing that needs to happen is creating these very low risk, very high accessible, like high accessibility opportunities and invitations to play, to move in your public spaces that starts to normalize play again. [00:09:00] Break the social normals. Especially like I said because for a lot of people I know– this is changing with the emergence of social media and these playful tech companies that are popping up and talking about having better, more playful fun oriented cultures. A lot of people still have a cubicle-life experience or are stuck behind a computer, and there’s not a lot of room for creativity or play or any of these things. It’s so absent [00:09:30] from every other aspect of your life that it’s hard to allow it from other people.