On the 28th of Febuary ,the British Standards Intitution (the organisation that creates official standards across hundreds of industries, both inside the U.K. and across other parts of the world) released its first publication recognizing standards for the building of Parkour facilities and equipment. The British Standards Institution or BSI Group is renowned for being the worlds largest certification body and the worlds first national standards body.
The steering body that created the standard at BSI Group was led by ParkourUK in association with Freemove, and has helped to pave the way for future Standardization of Parkour equipment across the rest of Europe, and possibly America in the not so distant future. However, there are some reasonable concerns being voiced about this latest grab for legitimacy. Mikkel, one of the founders of Street Movement and an experienced designer of PK equipment in Denmark, had this to say;
"I recognize the problem, the effort and the achievement, but creating a box in which we have to fit these things don't seem to relate very well to the very ideology and values of parkour. I understand the practical problems of having to work within a system that operates on a certain framework, but I'm not so sure this is the best way to answer this specific challenge... Take skateparks for example, which is the closest comparison I can come up with. Skateparks have never had a problem with this, even though they have elements of very high risk. And standards for playgrounds haven't done many positive things in relation to childrens physical and social development. This may not have been the intention but the way these standards are interpreted and applied, unfortunately has had a negative effect. And this is proven by research.
I'm just very afraid of the potential consequences if and when this gains resonance and foothold throughout Europe and the rest of the World, and I think it's important that we keep discussing and questioning these things that can have such huge impact.
That being said I haven't read the standards so I obviously don't have the exact details. Having worked professionally with this for years I just don't see the need nor the necessity."
To which Eugene Minogue, CEO of ParkourUK answered,
"Mikkel I agree in principle with your comments and that was the whole basis to 'frame' the standards work. Through that 'framing' we have managed to create a very progressive standard which will enable facilities and equipment to be built which are suitable/appropriate for Parkour."
Eugene went on to add,
"It's also worth noting that standards are a living document that can and will change to meet the needs of Parkour, so this is really just the beginning and it's down to 'us' (the community) to lead and direct needs led changes for 'us'."
It's an interesting next step in the world of Parkour, and we here in New York will pay attention to this as in unfolds, for as we all know, what takes hold in Europe, particularly the UK, usually tends to travel towards us eventually in one way or another.
Written by Exo