Dystopian Past: Kowloon Walled City
I’ve always been somewhat obsessed with the Kowloon Walled City, it’s so Bladerunner and Ghost in the Shell – it’s pretty crazy that it actually existed. While it’s probably much better for its inhabitants, its a pity it no longer exists as it would be an amazing (albeit dangerous) experience to visit and explore.
Hak Nam, City of Darkness, the old Walled City of Kowloon was finally demolished ten years ago, in 1993, and to the end it retained its seedy magnificence. Rearing up abruptly in the heart of urban Hong Kong, 10, 12 and in some places as many as 14 storeys high, there was no mistaking it: an area 200 metres by 100 metres of solid building, home to some 35,000 people, not the largest, perhaps, but certainly one of the densest urban slums in the world. It was also, arguably, the closest thing to a truly self-regulating, self-sufficient, self-determining modern city that has ever been built.
The 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.
For more info check the following links – and as usual, more photos after the jump.
Click here for an essay on the walled city by Columbia University
Click here fro a mini site about the walled city by Archidose
Coilhouse Magazine feature here
There is also this fantastic book by Ian Lambot with some of the best photographs I’ve seen about this amazing place. Check it out below.
City of Darkness – Life In Kowloon City by Ian Lambot