art & photography

Kowloon Walled City

(Via DirJournal.) Here’s material for a novel. Kowloon Walled City, once a military installation in Hong Kong. After World War II, the Walled City descended into a tightly packed and ungoverned zone, a pirate enclave. It was demolished in 1994, and a park now exists in its place.

By the end of 1970s Walled City began to grow. Square buildings folded up into one another as thousands of modifications were made, virtually none by architects or engineers, until the entire City became monolithic. Labyrinthine corridors ran through the City, some former streets (at the ground level, and often clogged up with refuse), and some running through upper floors, through and between buildings. The streets were illuminated by fluorescent lights, as sunlight rarely reached the lower levels. There were only two rules for construction: electricity had to be provided to avoid fire, and the buildings could be no more than fourteen stories high, because of the nearby airport. Eight municipal pipes provided water to the entire structure (although more could have come from wells). By the early 1980s, Kowloon Walled City had an estimated population of 35,000. The City was notorious for its excess of brothels, casinos, opium dens, cocaine parlours, food courts serving dog meat, and secret factories.

More images here.

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

5 replies on “Kowloon Walled City”

Okay, totally stealing that and rewriting it as one of my cities. They’re pretty close anyway, I just like that description more, lol.

I was lucky enough to visit the park built on the site of the Walled City a few days ago when I was in Hong Kong. They have a statue resembling that aerial photo, a few plaques, but apart from that it might just as well be any nice little park in residential Kowloon – to us it was a remarkable, intriguing place but to their government it was basically just a slum that they knocked down and would, I suspect, sooner forget. Made me see it in a different context. Wish I could have visited a few decades ago when it was still standing!

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