It’s the economy, Stupid !*

There is an obvious relationship between Urbex and economic decay; Urbexing often involves exploring abandoned or deteriorating urban spaces that are no longer in use due to economic or social factors.

Many urbex locations, such as abandoned factories or office buildings, were once thriving parts of the landscape but have since fallen into disuse due to economic shifts, changes in industry, or shifts in population. In some cases, urbex locations may have been abandoned due to natural disasters or other factors, but economic decay is often the main contributing factor.
Urbex enthusiasts are often drawn to these abandoned places as a way to explore history, art, and architecture and to experience the haunting beauty of decay.

Industrial decay (see here) maninly refers to the process of decline and deterioration of industrial infrastructure, often resulting from economic shifts or changes in technology. This includes abandoned factories, wharehouses, mills, mines, and other industrial sites that are no longer in use or have fallen into disrepair.

Industrial decay can, of course, have a number of causes, including relocation to other regions, changes in technology that make certain industries obsolete. Even natural disasters that damage or destroy industrial infrastructure. As these industries decline, the physical structures that once supported them also deteriorate, with buildings and equipment becoming abandoned.

Morally though, the process of an Urbexer’s beloved industrial decay will have a number of impacts on the psyche of the locals, including economic decline, job loss, and environmental degradation. Abandoned industrial sites can thus become eyesores and a constant reminder of failure to those living nearby.

Basic psychology (and fucking human decency, let’s be honest) tells us that people are naturally distressed by bad economic symbols because their financial well-being is often closely tied to the health of the economy.

Worse, visible economic panoramas such as decaying industires usually rhyme with high unemployment rates, inflation, and economic recessions. Of course, all those issues threaten significant impact on individuals and their families, forseeing financial hardship, job loss, and decreased opportunities. Imagine looking at decrepit building through the ktichen window everyday !

To add insult to injury, industrial ruins often symbolise economic distress that can also affect other surrounding businesses, leading to closures, reduced investment, and job losses. From the local supermarket to the cantine where the workers used to eat their lunch. This can have a ripple effect on the wider community, with negative impacts on local economies and social well-being.

In addition, those horrid economic visual reminders can also cause anxiety and uncertainty about the future, leading to stress and psychological distress. It is proven that when people feel that they are not in control of their financial situation or are unable to meet their basic needs, it will often have a negative impact on their mental health and overall well-being.

However (and maybe, because of it), Urbexers are drawn to the haunting beauty of these abandoned industrial sites, and engage in their favorite activity: exploring these decaying places and taking pictures. While it can be seen as a way to appreciate the history and architecture of bygone industrial sites, Urbexers are often drawn to the haunting beauty of those places for a variety of other reasons. These sites often have a sense of history and nostalgia, as they represent a time when industry and manufacturing were a major part of all local neigbourhood’s fabric. The crumbling structures, rusted machinery, and overgrown vegetation can create a unique and eerie atmosphere that can be both captivating and unsettling.
To me at least, the juxtaposition of natural organic growth and industrial decay can create an intriguing and photogenic scene.

It’s important to note (yet again) that Urbex can be dangerous, prioritize safety. But also to be mindfull, and acknowledge the negative impacts that industrial decay can have on local economies and communities.

On a final note: Urbexers may convey signals and imagery that can cause distress and uncertainty for individuals (see here), by producing pictures of economic ruin and decay. At the same time, they are indirectly highlighting the importance of a stable economy that supports the needs of all its citizens, by showing the public what the opposite looks like, and that may not be a bad idea after all.

Now… where is my Nobel Peace price ?

* The phrase “It’s the economy, stupid” is often attributed to a political strategist who worked on Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, to help focus Clinton’s campaign message on the issue of the economy, which was a key concern for voters at the time. The phrase has since become a popular slogan and shorthand for the idea that economic issues are often the most important factor in political campaigns.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Built with

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: