A hodgepodge of adventuring activities designed for urban settings gathered under the rubric “hacking,” as in the old sense of “play[ing] a sophisticated practical joke on a community,” though considerably more inclusive here.
Place hacking, for author Rosen, comprises three categories of activities: urban exploration, urban adventure and urban infiltration. By its nature, hacking is an outlaw activity, often involving a measure of risk and some illegal acts. There is an unofficial place-hacker code of conduct and an admirable acceptance of personal responsibility for one’s behavior, plus much preparation for the hairier deeds. Still, there are some seriously dangerous exploits recorded in these pages, from entering buildings that may harbor toxic wastes, unstable flooring or creatures unhappy with your visit—skunks, snakes—to scaling the outsides of skyscrapers. But there are also a host of activities that are unlikely to hospitalize or incarcerate the participant, from exploring the urban underground to parkour, a kind of nimble, freestyle run-and-leap through an urban landscape. Despite the disclaimer, “This book...is not intended to be a how-to guide,” there is a segment on staging an illegal exploration—but Rosen emphasizes the pleasure of discovery and the joy of participating in a sport with style and a goal of mastery.
From the cockamamie (extreme ironing) to daredevilry (rooftopping) to a fine day out (catacomb rambling), a taste of unbridled adventure for everyone. (Nonfiction. 13-16)