hanoi_youth5
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ACTIVITIES PRACTICED BY YOUTHS
Bike-Guys

Formal public spaces play a central role in youths’ physical and social well-being

WHAT DO YOUTHS DO IN THE PUBLIC SPACES?

WHY DO THEY VISIT THEM?

0%
to practice a physical activity

MAIN ACTIVITIES PRACTICED BY YOUTHS IN PARKS

0%
to meet friends and socialize or to relax individually
VIDEO       Youths in action!

What do you do?

STATIC ACTIVITIES
Hanging out, chatting, drinking tea or eating at a stall, dog walking, baby-sitting, playing music, reading a book, doing school work ...

Hanging out, chatting, drinking tea or eating at a stall, dog walking, baby-sitting, playing music, reading a book, doing school work ...

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"CONVENTIONAL" SPORTS
Badminton, soccer, shuttlecock, martial arts, aerobic, dance, work out, running ...

Badminton, soccer, shuttlecock, martial arts, aerobic, dance, work out, running ...

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"STREET DISCIPLINES"
Skateboarding, inline skating, free line skating, street dancing (break dance, house, popping etc.), parkour, freestyle soccer, single-speed bicycle …

Skateboarding, inline skating, free line skating, street dancing (break dance, house, popping etc.), parkour, freestyle soccer, single-speed bicycle …

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Skateux

ACTIVITIES PRACTICED IN OUR 3 SITES (N=60)

Street Disciplines    Conventional Sports    Static Activities

“Street disciplines”,
also called “lifestyle sports” are more than physical activities, they come with a distinct perspective on life, centred on fun, independence, self-realization, and living in the present moment.

ALONE OR IN A GROUP

Visiting a formal public space is a social affair for Hanoi’s youths:

0%
of respondents visit public spaces accompanied
0% +
belong to a formal club or group that meets regularly to practice an activity (skateboarding, soccer, shuttlecock, dancing) at the park

WITH WHOM DO YOUTH COME TO OUR 3 SITES (n=60)

HOW OFTEN DO YOU GO?

FREQUENCY OF VISITS OUR 3 SITES (N=60)

High frequency and lengthy visits suggest that formal public spaces play an important role in youths’ daily lives:

  • Over 80% of respondents visit the public space at least once a week
  • About a third come every day, in some cases up to two times daily
  • Nearly half stay 2-3 hours at a time
  • Some youths stay up to 6 hours

TIME SPENT IN OUR 3 SITES (N=60)

PUBLIC SPACE AS URBAN “LIFESTYLE” LABS

If you understand the philosophy of this activity, you will see that it frees your spirit”

(23 year old male parkour practitioner)

Public spaces allow youths to experiment with new urban activities such as hip-hop dancing, skateboarding, parkour, freestyle soccer etc. These activities are sometimes called “street disciplines” in Hanoi.

For their practitioners, Hanoi’s “street disciplines” are more than physical activities, they come with a distinct perspective on life centred on fun, independence, self-realization, and living in the present moment.

Youths talked about:

    “freedom” (t do) and “ease” (thoi mái)

    living their lives as ‘art’ (ngh thut) (non-competitive, self-motivated and self-directed existences that may not fit into existing models)

    having a “bụi bặm lifestyle” (a nonchalant way of life, characterized by freedom, carefreeness, and insubordination)

I have become a good- natured person [since entering the group]. I am not at war or bullying others anymore”

(focus group discussion)

Youths emphasize the numerous benefits they derive from practicing a lifestyle sport:

    A more active and healthier lifestyle

   Peer support (studying together, helping each other to find jobs, quitting smoking, and staying away from drugs)

    Autonomous development

People don’t support us simply because they misunderstand [what we do]”

(interview, November 16, 2013)

“Street disciplines” have yet to gain acceptance in Hanoi. These activities do not fit in with the more regulated activities which authorities, older users, and parents expect youths to engage in. There is also a perception that “street disciplines” are alien to the Vietnamese culture, making the public and officials reluctant to let them develop in the capital city’s public spaces.

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