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Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City [Kindle Edition]

Bradley Garrett
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Plotting adventures from London, Paris, Eastern Europe, Detroit, Chicago and Las vegas, uncovering the tunnels below the city as well as scaling the highest skyscrapers, Bradley Garrett has evaded urban security in order to experience the city in new ways beyond the conventional boundaries of everyday life. Explore Everything is both an account of his escapades with the London Consolidation Crew as well as an urbanist manifesto on rights to the city and new ways of belonging in and understanding the metropolis. It is a passionate declaration to "explore everything," combining philosophy, politics and adventure.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* “Dr. Garrett?” asked the British police officer who boarded the plane as soon as it landed at Heathrow. The American-expat Oxford researcher was about to be arrested for his trespassing exploits. He meant no harm. Quite the opposite. Garrett and his fellow urban explorers celebrate forgotten places and protest limits on access. In this unique and electrifying travelogue, Garrett, a scholar with a background in anthropology and archeology, thoughtfully explicates their dangerous, exhilarating, and illegal explorations. We picture hackers as loners slouched anemically in the sickly light of a computer screen, but Garrett and his fellow travelers are as fit, agile, and fearless as ninja. Sharing an ethos with street artists, their mission is to “exploit fractures in the architecture of the city in an effort to find deeper meaning in the spaces we pass through every day.” Garrett recounts death-defying adventures in the UK, Europe, and the U.S. and shares his astonishingly dramatic photographs. Not only do place-hackers explore and document such urban ruins as abandoned factories, hospitals, and power stations; they also breach security systems to stand on the roofs of skyscrapers and tramp through sewer and subway systems. Each journey involves deep research, high risk, and profound intent. And wherever they go, they leave a sticker that reads, “Explore everything.” --Donna Seaman



“Urban exploration is... a way of renegotiating reality, transforming the moment, turning the city into a video game. Except that, in this game, you only have one life.”—Evening Standard

"A unique and electrifying travelogue … Garrett and his fellow travelers are as fit, agile and fearless as ninja."—Booklist, Starred Review

“For Garrett, physical exploration is merely the outward manifestation of a deeper philosophical inquiry. The theoretical DNA of much of his work traces back to the concept of 'psychogeography.'"—GQ

“An absorbing read … Recommended for travel and modern history readers."—Library Journal

Product Details

  • File Size: 119449 KB
  • Print Length: 289 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1781681295
  • Publisher: Verso (October 8, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #688,285 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating October 24, 2013
Fascinating! I had no idea that such a pursuit existed. The book kept me on the edge of my seat, reading of all the explorers' (often dangerous) adventures. The author is to be commended for his bravery, accomplishments (even though most were illegal) and great photography. I have only two negative comments about the book.

Number one, this is the first book I've ever read in which the paper the book was printed on was so thick that it was a constant struggle to hold the book open! No fault of the author of course, but I feel it was definitely a shortcoming of the publisher.

Second, much of the book was filled with philosophical comments on the subject of urban exploration. Nothing wrong with that of course, except for the fact that I had difficulty understanding many of those comments. For example, here's one: ‟Despite its weavings into the mythologies of the sublime, urban exploration is not an escape from or a transcendence of the physical, but a challenge to the very boundaries of deeply embodied substance dualisms.‟ Huh?? Other than (far too many) things like that, a worthwhile read.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reflective and Engaging Look at Urban Exploration October 18, 2013
By Ivan
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found out about this book when The Atlantic published a set of pictures from Bradley Garrett's blog. Although I am not an urban explorer myself, I have always been very curious about this concept and the pictures looked fascinating enough for me to follow through and purchase Garrett's book.

At a high level, the book describes the author's experience as an ethnographer doing research on the urban exploration (UE) community as well as being its very active participant. The narrative is a combination of Garrett's various adventures and deep reflections on the general philosophy of UE.

From his adventures I found these the most interesting:

1.Descriptions of social dynamics and politics of various UE groups that compete and cooperate with each other

2.Exploration of the abandoned and disused London Tube stations

3.Adventure in discovery and investigation of the London Mail Rail system

4.Garrett's time spent with UE group in Minnesota, helping chart various underground tunnels underneath the Twin Cities

While Garrett's various UE adventures are certainly interesting in it of themselves, I think the key strength of the book lays in his healthy dose of reflection, introspection, and philosophizing that is intertwined into every exploit. Here, he deeply delves into numerous issues:

1.UE ethics - what does it mean to leave no trace behind? how forceful to be when entering a place? how to approach abandoned and derelict places when they are used by the indigent and the homeless for shelter

2.The ethos of UE - the difference between a controlled "museum like" interaction with history and present environment vs. a non-scripted, open ended, and non-linear approach of UE.
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22 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars spare me January 4, 2014
Urban exploration is a fascinating topic. Who hasn’t wanted to check out the underground tunnels that run beneath their city; the old abandoned factories or schools or hospitals; the construction sites; the junk yards … I mean, there’s got to be more than a little 14-year-old boy in all of us, right?

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of urban exploration in this book. Yes, there are some great pictures and the hints of some great stories. But it seems to be only a small part of what’s there.

So, what do we get instead? How about lots of lots of rather pretentious academese. Now, don’t forget to add in a healthy dose of self-regarding hipsterism too. Finally, let’s top it all off with some faux-daring rebellion. And that’s your book.

Don’t believe me? Here, try this paragraph on for size:

“By sneaking into places they’re not supposed to be, photographing them and sharing those exploits with the world, explorers are recoding people’s normalized relationship to city space. It is both a celebration and a protest. It is a melding, a fusing of the individual and the city, of what is allowed and what is possible. Urban explorers make it clear that the city is not as secure as some may suggest and that, more importantly, by undertaking risks to probe those boundaries, one can create opportunities for creativity, discovery, and friendship, and even uncover the places and histories that those in power would prefer remained hidden.”

Honestly, couldn’t we all just trespass and enjoy these places without all this preening and pretention? You gotta admit it, they are kinda cool.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On going where you're not supposed to go November 3, 2013
Does everyone have a longing to go past those "restricted entry" signs, "authorized access only" barriers, the "no trespassing"signs? Maybe not everyone, but it seems like there is a basic human desire to cross boundaries, to explore unknown and forbidden places, and to find untouched locations. However, most of us, either out of respect for private property and the rule of law, or out of timidity and caution, stay safely within prescribed boundaries.

Bradley Garrett, a researcher at the Oxford University School of Geography and the Environment, spent several years hanging out with urban explorers, guys (mostly guys; there are a few female urban explorers), sneaking into closed down buildings, sewers, abandoned Tube stations, construction sites, skyscrapers, and other closed off and forbidden locations. He tells the stories of their adventures, discoveries, and misadventures in Explore Everything: Place-Hakcing the City.

For Garrett and his UE buddies, urban exploration, or place-hacking, is not a juvenile thrill-seeking, but "taking back rights to the city from which we have been wrongfully restricted," protesting the "increased securitisation"of public places, about "going places you're not supposed to go, seeing places you're not supposed to see." They see urban exploration as a "more tantalising option"than "the mall and the television screen," and a way to find alternatives to "state-mediated historical interpretation."

One the one hand, Garrett's tales of UE make me curious, not just about the places he visits, but about my own city as well. What might I discover underground, or in some abandoned buildings, or in a construction site? How difficult would it be to on top of Fort Worth's tallest buildings?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not buy this
The online review made it sound like Ruin Porn. What you get is somebodys badly written dissertation. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Bob
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book
Photography is terrific! Very interesting book in for those looking for unusual experiences in their own back yard. Would recommend.
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring aside from spelling & grammar mistakes
I write as someone deeply interested in UE and in scholarship. I admire much of the work here and found it a compelling read. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Gunner
4.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking, dangerous, and you get to hitchhike along...
For most of us who would never do anything so foolhardy, Bradley L. Garrett takes us along. You will see the Gherkin from a unique angle, explore the catacombs, and climb through... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Sigrid Olsen
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing read - I finished it heartbroken it was over.
I've been a keen reader (or should I say viewer) of urban exploration books for many years. Most of them are just photo books and don't ever talk about why they are doing what they... Read more
Published 16 months ago by John Chambers
2.0 out of 5 stars Research? Or "research"?
The Good:
This book is full of interesting insights and commentary on urban exploration. Garrett's descriptions are often beautiful and haunting (at least, when he's not... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Dulcinea
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