Abandoned Detroit Draws Pranksters, Artists

80K empty buildings a mecca for 'urban explorers'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2009 5:53 AM CST

(Newser) – Detroit's 80,000 abandoned buildings, from housing projects to high-rises to industrial plants, have become a magnet for all kinds of vandals, pranksters, and urban explorers. "Mayhem. That's what they should call the place. If you decide you want to push a dump truck out of a window, this is the place to do it," a man preparing to do just that at the old Packard plant told the Wall Street Journal.

Police and firefighters consider ruins like the Packard plant, the largest abandoned industrial building in America, too dangerous to enter, so scavengers, vandals, and thrill-seekers are largely left to their own devices. Their antics infuriate the director of a foundation seeking to preserve and someday even restore what's left of Detroit's derelict industrial buildings. "Piece by piece, they're disassembling those buildings, making it harder and harder to restore them," she says.