Understanding the nuances of city stories, and tracing those tensions, requires immersion and patience. Whether we are writing about police work, protests, squatting, free parties, banking or parkour, the best socially engaged journalism – like the best university research – is rooted in participation, spiked with empathy, and resists being reduced to spectacle fodder.
As any war correspondent will tell you, immersion can also be dangerous… — the Guardian
Bradley Garrett recounts his own infiltration into urbex (urban exploration) communities, and provides a list of the “five most influential ‘gonzo’ ethnographies.” If you aren’t familiar with Garrett’s work, be sure to check it out. In particular, Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the Cityis a must-read primer on sneaking into the secret corners of the city. In a way, urbex picks up where the Situationists left off, reimagining the urban environment as a giant, unending game board.