RC’s Guide To Urban Exploration
In our guide to urban exploration we explore the origins and obsessions of finding new and mysterious locations.
When you think of the words urban exploration, you would normally think that it means walking around in a town or a city of some description. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The places that urban explorers like to visit have been either abandoned, or not accessible to the public, which is the reason why they are so attractive to them. Popular locations for urban explorers include: empty buildings, theme parks, storm drains, catacombs and sub-terrain as well as some buildings still in use.
Urban exploration has been around for a long time, with an underground scene so as to not draw too much attention to the people who were doing it. However, as it has become more of a hobby for the ordinary thrill seeker, there has been an increase in news stories featuring explorers who have been arrested for trespassing as well as other things. There are other significant risks, of course, highlighted in our guide to urban exploration.
As well as the threat of arrest and prosecution, many of the abandoned buildings can be structurally unsafe and, as a result, there have been instances of injuries and even the death of explorers while roaming. One particularly dangerous, yet highly sought after experience for an urban explorer seems to lie in Ukraine with the abandoned City of Pripyat which was famous for housing the workers of the Chernobyl Nuclear power plant. Even though the city will be uninhabitable for tens of thousands of years, people travel there on tours as well as unsanctioned exploring, exposing themselves to the deadly radiation that still exists there today.
There are a few ways that you can discover buildings ripe for exploring. This can range from hearing about them on social media, to accidentally stumbling upon them. While it can be considered trespassing to enter a building or an underground space uninvited, some people actually ask for permission before they enter such places. Research is important while pursuing this type of hobby, simply because of the safety risks involved or the risk of prosecution.
So, what exactly do you need to take with you when you are exploring an urban area? Most explorers if not all of them would agree that a camera or a go pro is an absolute essential, for the reason mentioned above. This is how you put yourself on the map as a true urban explorer, with evidence. Really though, safety clothing is optional and most of the time not worn by a lot of explorers. The clothing they do wear tends to be the latest techwear, comfortable and unrestricted in case there is jumping or climbing to be done. A torch of some description for the many dark spots abandoned buildings or underground spaces have is a must as is a basic first aid kit in case you suffer any minor injuries. Lastly, food and water supplies should be considered as these spaces are sometimes extremely big and take a lot of time to cover to satisfaction.
One of the main reasons that urban explorers prefer to wander round such structures and often risk life and limb is so that they can document their experiences through photography. Social media plays a big part of this and there are many Twitter accounts as well as Instagram such as @night.scape, showcasing their adventures. Other explorers take it to the next step and even have their own Youtube channels and products for sale.
In short, urban exploration is at its most popular today with more and more people seeing the photos of their contemporaries, and wanting to take exploration to the next level. However, there are a lot of risks that come with urban exploring and it is probably best if you do your research before entering a building and take the right kit with you. The rewards can be great if you do, and you can end up with some amazing footage and pictures of places that other people will never set foot in. Urban exploring shows that although time has forgotten a lot of buildings and structures, there are a hardcore group out there who will make sure people remember and appreciate them for what they are now.