Place-Hacking the City
More and more of the world is living in cities, yet we rarely stop to examine how our spaces are organised and controlled. In a remarkable new book, Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City (Verso, 2013), Bradley Garrett tells the story of his urban explorations that attempt to show the space from an entirely new viewpoint. The book draws on ethnographic fieldwork with a community of urban explores that begins in London and takes on global sites in the development of what the book refers to as ‘place hacking’. The explorers unearth the hidden histories of the London Underground, experience sites (and sights) of seemingly closed neo-liberal capital’s constructions and point to ways that the city could be a space for creativity beyond the blandness of coffee and consumer culture. Fundamentally Explore Everything aims to ensure we never look at our city spaces in the same ways again. Unusually for a book informed by critical theory, the text is richly illustrated with photographs taken as part of the place hacking activities, connecting the theoretical underpinnings of the text with the breathtaking excitement generated in the act of exploration. The text is also a record of the engagement with activism, police forces and security, as well as the media, raising profound questions as to the future role of the university and scholarship in an age where academia is encouraged and expected to have much more visible public impact.