, or “urbexing,” (sometimes abbreviated as “UE”) is the act of exploring structures in the built environment, particularly abandoned buildings, although it may also include sewers, storm drains, caves, and other man-made dwellings. For those who engage in it, it borders on an obsession. For those who don’t, it’s probably baffling: why on earth would people actively seek to enter decaying, and—in many cases—dangerous structures? Why go where it’s off-limits to go? What’s the appeal of trucking around in asbestos, dust, mold, animal feces, and God-knows-what-else?
In this post, I explore urbex as not merely a culture, hobby, or sport (though it is arguably all of these things and more), but as a radically different kind of pedagogy—one that offers an alternative to traditional forms of education upheld by (and increasingly embroiled in) late neoliberal capitalist economies.
I’ll approach what I’m calling a “pedagogy of urbex” by highlighting six…