Urban exploration

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**Exploration Sites:**
– Abandonments:
– Abandoned structures like amusement parks, factories, hospitals, and schools are common exploration targets.
– In Japan, abandoned sites are known as ‘haikyo’ due to historical events.
– The Željava Air Base in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a popular but risky urban exploration site.
– Decay in uninhabited spaces is often considered aesthetically appealing by explorers.
– Historians, architects, and photographers are among those interested in abandoned sites.
– Active Buildings:
– Urban exploration also includes accessing restricted areas in active buildings.
– Terms like infiltration are associated with exploring secured parts of buildings.
– Trespassing and civil prosecution are risks associated with exploring active structures.
– Catacombs:
– Urban explorers venture into catacombs in cities like Paris, Rome, and Odessa.
– The Mines of Paris are highly sought after for their extensive tunnels.
– Those who explore catacombs are known as cataphiles.
– Sewers and Storm Drains:
– Entry into storm drains, known as draining, is a common form of urban exploration.
– Sewers can be dangerous due to toxic gases, viruses, and bacteria.
– Protective equipment is recommended for those exploring sewers.
– Transit Tunnels:
– Exploring subway and railway tunnels is considered trespassing and can lead to legal consequences.
– Some cities like Rochester, New York, have abandoned subway systems.
– London and Cincinnati also have closed subway stations popular among urban explorers.
– Utility Tunnels:
– Large institutions like universities use utility tunnels to distribute steam for heating or cooling.
– Some tunnels have poor conditions like dirt floors and high temperatures.
– Proper breathing protection may be necessary in tunnels with respiratory hazards.
– Steam tunnels usually have intake fans for ventilation and can pose risks if not cautious.

**Popularity and Media Influence:**
– Increased media attention has contributed to the rise in urban explorations popularity.
– Television shows like Urban Explorers and MTVs Fear have packaged the hobby for a wider audience.
– The Ghost Hunting exploits of The Atlantic Paranormal Society have also added to its popularity.
– Films like After… (2006) have portrayed urban explorers in extreme situations.
– Talks and exhibits on urban exploration have been featured at various conferences and in newspaper articles.

**Legality and Ethical Considerations:**
– The growing popularity of urban exploration has led to increased attention from vandals and law enforcement.
– Mainstream newspapers have highlighted illicit aspects like trespassing and breaking and entering.
– Authorities in different regions, such as Australia and Maine, have taken action against websites promoting risky behavior.
– Genuine urban explorers emphasize on discovery and photography without causing damage.
– Trespassing on private property can lead to legal consequences.
– Vandalism of historical or culturally significant sites is unethical and illegal.
– Respecting ‘No Trespassing’ signs and property boundaries is essential.

**Hazards and Safety Considerations:**
– Storm drains, often explored, can pose risks like flash flooding and poor air quality.
– Abandoned structures may have hazards such as unstable floors, broken glass, and harmful substances like asbestos.
– Risks include guard dogs, squatters, motion detectors, and security patrols in some locations.
– Falls from heights, structural collapse, exposure to hazardous materials, and getting lost in confined spaces are significant dangers.
– Encounters with wildlife or dangerous individuals can result in harm.

**Injuries, Safety Equipment, and Environmental Impact:**
– Multiple incidents of injuries and deaths have been reported in urban exploration activities.
– Examples include falls from heights, drowning in tunnels, and kayaking accidents in stormwater drains.
– Safety equipment like proper footwear, flashlights, first aid kits, and communication devices are essential.
– Urban explorers should avoid disturbing wildlife habitats, littering, and spreading invasive species.
– Proper waste disposal practices and respecting local communities and their privacy are important for responsible exploration.

Urban exploration (Wikipedia)

Urban exploration (often shortened as UE, urbex, and sometimes known as roof and tunnel hacking) is the exploration of manmade structures, usually abandoned ruins or hidden components of the manmade environment. Photography and historical interest/documentation are heavily featured in the hobby, sometimes involving trespassing onto private property. Urban exploration is also called draining (a specific form of urban exploration where storm drains or sewers are explored), urban spelunking, urban rock climbing, urban caving, building hacking, or mousing.

Abandoned Salbert fortifications

The activity presents various risks, including physical danger, the possibility of arrest and punishment if done illegally and/or without permission, and the risk of encountering squatters. Some activities associated with urban exploration may violate local or regional laws, certain broadly interpreted anti-terrorism laws, or can be considered trespassing or invasion of privacy. Encountering squatters, who are unauthorized occupants in abandoned or unmonitored properties, can lead to unpredictable and potentially dangerous situations.

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