Destruction in Detroit


Reading this Wall Street Journal piece about “pranksters” causing “mischief” in Detroit’s abandonded buildings totally pissed me off.

It sounded more like wanton destruction for the sake of destruction to me.

The article details how this group used sledgehammers to break down this wall and push a truck out of a fourth story window in the old Packard plant (a site we’ve previously highlighted on this blog). They even videotaped their caper.

I don’t fault people for wanting to go inside and explore these old structures – I’ve done it myself. But wrecking walls? Setting fires?

“Karen Nagher seethes when she hears about such capers” according to the Journal story. “Executive director of Preservation Wayne, a nonprofit organization that holds out hope for even the most forlorn buildings, Ms. Nagher says it infuriates her that people come from ‘all over the world’ to poke around Detroit. ‘Piece by piece, they’re disassembling those buildings, making it harder and harder to restore them,’ she says.”

I guess people who do this would say the condition of the buildings is almost encouraging their actions. The story quoted one as saying, “If you decide you want to push a dump truck out of a window, this is the place to do it.”

And not surprisingly, Detroit police and firefighters don’t have the time or the manpower to care about people poking around abandonded buildings.

The Journal explains, “Those who prowl Detroit’s vacant buildings are largely unimpeded. Many live in the suburbs but come here for the adventure, knowing that they’re unlikely to get caught….Busy enough with occupied buildings, police and fire crews aren’t able to do much to protect abandoned sites like the Packard plant or people who venture into them. The Detroit Fire Department considers the factory too unstable to enter and fights fires only from the outside. The city’s Police Department doesn’t time have the resources to deal with people rummaging around abandoned buildings, and the onus is on building owners anyway, says John Roach, a spokesman.”

What do you think?



Filed under architecture, Crime, Editorial, Featured, The Media, U.S. Auto Industry

5 responses to “Destruction in Detroit

  1. Sean Posey

    Take only pictures, leave only footprints.

  2. This is terrible. How anyone can think this is a productive or useful way to contribute to society is beyond me. I’d love to see the property owner press charges against these yahoos. Just because something isn’t beautiful doesn’t give you the right to damage it.

  3. Special K

    I think that what really bothers me is that people have so little fear of prosecution or consequences for this destruction that they a) video taped themselves, and b) discussed their exploits with a Wall Street Journal reporter. They clearly have no shame or bad feelings about this.

  4. Claudia

    Ugh. This is just more poverty porn about Detroit. Look everybody, there’s lots of abandoned buildings in Detroit! Let’s take pictures! Let’s set fires! Let’s steal a piece! This isn’t some sort of dark amusement park, this is a once-great American city that has been raped by capitalism. Only people outside of Detroit find this stuff amusing.

  5. They should level the city and start over.

Leave a Reply to Claudia Cancel reply

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

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

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s