July 20th, 2013
Perhaps the biggest shortcoming of Detroit "ruin porn" is it inherently ignores the very real people who still live in the city. Now there's a convergence — the amazing story of Allan Hill, the man who legally lives inside the city's abandoned Packard Auto Plant.
What's most surprising about this moving mini-documentary is Hill's "quality of life" doesn't look as terrible as you'd imagine, nor does his reasoning for choosing to stay in the largest abandoned factory in the world seem so unsound.
The whole creation is a huge gut-check to our biases. Yes, the Packard Plant is so giant and empty and strange they shoot Michael Bay movies there. And, occasionally, kids push a dump truck out a window.
Yet, Hill has power, Internet access, a welding setup, and a small kitchen. He even maintains a webcam. The owner apparently gave him his blessing so long as Hill works as a custodian of the property.