By David BanksDavid Banks was one of two winners of our Active by Design IdeasTap competition with his proposal for Movement Codes – a bank of instructional videos, accessed using QR codes found in locations across the city of Glasgow. The videos would help members of the public reclaim public spaces by training them to use the architecture for parkour, ballet and yoga. Here, David discusses the role of the arts in providing new perspectives and visions of the city that can help people feel connected to their locality and be more active as a result. Our current urban conditions reject possibilities for creativity and make it difficult to form local and individual identities within city structures. As our cities grow and become more androgynous in their appearance, our appearances too begin to converge more and more into artificial stereotypes. The surfaces belong to advertisements and the city space to carbon copy architecture. One’s claim on space is second to a capitalist structure that is designed specifically for monetary ideals: public space and local environment is being commoditised. With our cities designed to promote specific needs such as cost efficiency, safety and usage, the need for expression and identity is often neglected. The urban landscape is created according to the generalised needs of the masses and not of the individual. We can identify structures in the space around us; we see buildings, roads, walls, railings, parks, pavements and so on. Over time these spaces evolve and change: with the constant development of our cities and towns how can we reclaim them as our own? Parkour and graffiti are both forms of expression that transgress architecture’s function, providing the individual with a framework in order to respond to their environment – whether the practitioner is finding a canvas, an obstacle or simply a point of interest.
Architecture ought to be designed for actions it invites.
Madeline Gins and Arakawa, Architectural Body