What Happens When Digital Cities Are Abandoned?

What Happens When Digital Cities Are Abandoned?

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What happens when digital cities are abandoned?

People use terms like “majestic,” “spectacularly vacant,” and “post-apocalyptic” to describe real-life ruins. There’s an entire subculture around images of once-splendid buildings, now left to rot and decay. I’m a quiet fan of these urban explorers, people who devote time to poking around abandoned buildings or “haikyo”—and, if they’re lucky, uncovering stories about the people that once resided there. And because I’ve spent so much time inhabiting digital rooms myself, I often think about how time decays digital structures. I imagine all of the strings of text that have come before or after mine that similarly disappeared into the void. But what happens when those spaces stick around, as in a virtual world—when they can’t physically decay?


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