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Pokémon Go Adds a New Layer to Public Spaces

Another great take on the Pokemon Go phenomenon and how it is encouraging people to explore public spaces.

THE DIRT

Pershing-Park-map-resized Pershing Square Park as depicted in Pokemon Go

According to the National Academy of Sciences, “nature-based recreation” has decreased 25 percent in the last 40 years. Is Pokémon Go — the explosively popular game app released worldwide this month — a way to get people off their sofas and into parks and other public spaces?

My answer — after a couple of days happily playing the game — is a qualified “yes.” I recently played in two places — the town square in downtown Rockville, Maryland, and Pershing Square Park in Washington, D.C. — and had two different, yet intriguing experiences.

Pokémon Go, which may be downloaded on iOS and Android devices, is a free, location-based augmented reality game in which players capture adorable-looking creatures called Pokémon. The game is played not from a comfy sofa, but out in the real world.

The app provides a map of the player’s…

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