Liebster Award

One of our Urbex Central followers has nominated us for the Liebster Award – which is like a chain letter of affection from one blogger to the next, but without the spurious claims of profound loss of luck if the chain is broken. Thank you Tina of Everyday life in Vienna (aka tinasrabbithole). Tina’s faithful ‘likes’ regularly skew the fragile ecosystem of our blog’s statistics, conveying the impression that we’ve established a hardcore following of Austrians. In fact, we have found a hardcore following in one Norwegian ex-Wellingtonian residing in Vienna. But who’s counting anyway? Check out Tina’s observations from a land where lovers lock themselves to bridges, and toilet patrons make use of a handy little porcelain shelf upon which to inspect their own (and conceivably, one another’s?) stools for ‘health reasons’.

Apparently the Liebster guidelines require us to say a little about ourselves, and suggest some blogs worth checking out.

Righto. Well Urbex Central is playground to a group of charming subversives who unite under the nom de plume The Inspectres. We delight in going places that get our hearts racing, our senses maxing-out, our limbs aching and our imaginations whirring. We are really just finding our feet as a collective, discovering through trial and error what each of us can do: find, scout, film, shoot, edit, write, act, climb, sneak, slither, haul, impersonate, improvise, infiltrate. Wellington, New Zealand feels right now like it is opening in our hands like some kind of exotic stone fruit. We’re savoring it.

As far as blogs we follow, they are as diverse as we are.

We certainly love the photography of Fergus Cunningham.

We contribute to the work of Wellingtonia.

It’s always interesting to see what thecoffeeimp has been doing the morning after what we’ve been doing the night before.

iambidong has been generous with what he knows and what he shoots. He has released a free ebook (for people new to the idea of urban exploration) here

That’s plenty. Liebster Awards for them all!

Thanks for following us, and happy exploration to you, in whatever way that manifests in your own life.

Warmly,

Gunner

Urban Exploration versus terrorism AND McCarthyism

I noticed you referenced my website in your PDF but clearly failed to even skim the 380-page PhD living there which contradicts almost everything you’ve asserted.

What urban explorers are doing by sneaking into places is expressing deep admiration for their environment and its history. They are participatory citizens who take an active interest in their city and inspire others to playfully and creatively engage with their surroundings. They also have a strong sense of community, the very thing that makes a city safer.

Countless historical precedents show that when and if terrorists strike, they will do so pretty much out in the open, aiming to inflict maximum human casualties – an attack is as much psychological as physical. Let’s take a metro tunnel as an example, which you suggest could be targeting for “disruption of service because of access to electrical, ventilation, or signal control rooms.” Why would you study urban explorer’s photos to find a way to abseil down a ventilation shaft into an abandoned tube station to disrupt a signal? This would be incredibly time-consuming, difficult and not very effective, especially when you can walk into a train with a valid ticket and an organic peroxide–based device in a rucksack. You may remember this happened in here in the UK on the 7th July 2005 that killed 52 people.

You know what your best defence against terrorism is? A bunch of people who love their city, paying attention, with cameras. That’s a perfect description of urban explorers.
McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. That is what you are propagating here. I think it might be worth taking the time to consider who is doing the “terrorising”. Using a vague threat to limit people’s right to spend their free time as they wish is unwarranted, unethical and authoritarian. Just to be clear: it’s drivel like this that is destroying the last vestiges of democracy.

It’s worth considering this passage from 2003 by the explorer couple Liz and Ninjalicious which still resonates strongly today, especially in the context of your naïve overzealousness:
“Allowing the darkening threat of future terrorist attack or indeed of our increasingly scarce civil rights to deter our curiosity or intimidate us away from expressing our deep appreciation for the hidden and neglected bits of our urban landscapes would be the greatest crime of all. Continuing to support considerate exploration and questioning authority in productive, benevolent, and visible ways will allow us to represent ourselves as what we really are: people who love our cities, not those who wish to destroy them.”

Dr. Bradley L. Garrett
University of Oxford