As an urban historian & photographer, I try to peel back the layers of a city to see what's underneath. From the tops of bridges to the depths of sewer tunnels, these explorations of the urban environment help me puzzle together the interconnected, multi-dimensional history and complexity of the great metropolises of the world.
Steve Duncan lives dangerously. The urban explorer goes underground, examining the hidden infrastructure of major cities all over the world -- their tunnels, subways, sewers.
In New York City, his favorite underground adventure, he could drown when the tide comes in or succumb to toxic gases in the sewers. He could be hit by a train or step on the third rail. And if he gets caught, he would be so under arrest.
So why does he do it? If you could have followed Alice down that rabbit hole, or Jules Verne to the center of the Earth, or gone to see the mandrake god in Pan's Labyrinth, wouldn't you do it? It's seductive. It's mysterious. It's what lies beneath.
Edward L. Glaeser:
During economic downturns, we begin to fear that we are entering a permanent period of decline. But we can avoid that depressing prospect if we recognize that a revival will not come from federal spending or another building boom. Reinvention requires a new wave of innovation and entrepreneurship, which can emerge from our dense metropolitan areas and their skilled residents. America must stop treating its cities as ugly stepchildren, and should instead cherish them as the engines that power our economy.