What is Urban Exploration?

Generally Urban Exploration or “UE” for short is the exploration of any man made structure though usually places that are rarely seen, abandoned or off-limits. Urban Exploration is an umbrella name for many other activities such as Parkour, Urban Spelunking, Draining, Infiltration. UE includes the exploration, documentation and preservation of abandoned buildings (factories, houses, hospitals, asylums, warehouses, missile silos, grain elevators, pretty much anything abandoned), tunnels (drainage tunnels, transit tunnels, mines, steam tunnels) and even active buildings and rooftops. Anything interesting that people don’t normally see is a possible target for UE. 

Over the past few years the internet has helped bring other Urban Explorers together and share in this common interest. Now where once there were only small pockets of friends who occasionally went to their local abandoned factory or drainage tunnel to look around there is a huge online community of people who can give a name to their hobby that was previously unknown to them.


Where can I find more information about Urban Exploration?

There are many other sites out there that describe this activity and give different insights. Check out the links section after you’ve looked around here to take a look at other places from around the world.

Some good general information about Urban Exploration can be found at Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_exploration

One of the largest sources of information and community of Urban Explorers is UER – The Urban Exploration Resource page. Here you can find lots of user posted information and an international forum where questions can be asked. http://www.uer.ca

Infiltration is another place to find some great information about the anthropology and ethics behind Urban Exploration, not to mention some great locations and stories about Urban Exploration. http://www.infiltration.org

Also, check out my links section.


Personal Accountability and Ethics

Before you run off and do something stupid please read this.

I made this site to share in my experiences exploring strange, rarely traveled, abandoned, underground and off-limits places. You have two choices, you can either sit back in front of your computer screen and explore these places comfortably or you can try it yourself. Honestly either of these choices are acceptable to me but if you choose the more dangerous of the two I can’t stress enough how careful you should be. It’s best to start small and work your way up. No need to take on something you aren’t prepared to deal with and end up getting yourself in trouble, hurt, or worse.

I live by the hikers motto when exploring, “Take only pictures. Leave only Footprints.” That is part of the reason why this site exists. Instead of taking artifacts and such, I take pictures of them and post them so all can see. I would never destroy or otherwise harm any of the places that I explore because I love them so dearly. All real Urban Explorers live by a similar set of standards. Exploration, preservation, documentation.

I’m also a big supporter of PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY. This means that you take responsibility for your own actions. Some of these places are dangerous and if you choose to participate, you should be prepared. Exploring a factory in the middle of the night with nothing to light your way is a bad idea. So is exploring a storm drain without checking the weather first.

Here are some tips:

  1. Check the weather before exploring a storm drain.
  2. Let someone know where you are.
  3. Use a reliable light source
  4. Have a backup plan.
  5. Start small
  6. Take responsibility for your own actions
  7. Take only pictures
  8. Leave only footprints
  9. Think before acting
  10. Appreciate the environment – don’t destroy it
  11. Safety First
  12. Be aware of your local laws
  13. Have fun
  14. Go with someone you trust to help you if you get into trouble
  15. Don’t be the person who runs away when you see someone you are with get injured.

 Many explorers face a dilemma when they choose to share their experiences with others. I, like many other explorers wish to share freely with those interested but also wish to keep the information hidden from other undesirable people. Unfortunately it’s pretty close to impossible to separate the harmless group of people from the ones wishing to do harm. The people who wish to harm the places that we love do so through (bad) graffiti, breaking things, stealing things, getting themselves into trouble and all the like. The authorities usually don’t like our habits because they usually can’t or won’t distinguish the difference between ethical Urban Explorers and your run of the mill vandals.


Is this site affiliated with Suburban Underground Vadders (SUV)?

Sort of. I am the creator and webmaster of SUV but during it’s 5+ year existence I’ve found it necessary to make some major changes.

First, what you’re looking at is a new website to replace SUV. Besides the fact that I think the old SUV site is starting to look a little 1990's I wanted to create the site in a different format that makes it easier to post small updates. Most of the old SUV content will still be available in the new incarnation.
Another change will be to the name. Originally I wanted to make a site similar to LTV Squad, Wraiths, or Action Squad and SUV represents that membership group style of UE site. Over the past few years this way of thinking has changed for me. I feel the need to change the format to a more personal photo site since nearly all of the content SUV has been my own. Of course I won't leave out the credit due to the people who I explore with. That's still a big part of exploring for me but I want the site to represent the fact that the content is mine.
I want to try posting a different style update as well as the large detailed updates that I’ve done in the past. Hopefully with the way this site is set up I’ll be able to post smaller bits of content quicker. Sometimes when I explore something I end up with only a few decent pictures and they don’t end up being enough to go through an update. Now I’d like to just post those pictures in an area of the website. I also want to make it easier to post small updates rather than only large detailed explorations.


Do you sell prints?

Soon I will also be setting up a way to buy prints. I’ve started selling some prints in galleries and now I would like to start offering them over the internet. Right now a lot of these things still aren't fully functional but should be in the future. I will have a page dedicated to pictures I think are worth having prints of here and I would also consider selling prints of other pictures on the site if you email me with a request.


All content © Copyright Kevin Lynch