Tag Archives : Kowloon Walled City


ART – Art Inspired by Kowloon Walled City 16

From Fritz Lang’s 1927 ‘Metropolis’ to Orwell, to Blade Runner – artists have long been fascinated with the dark horrors that a dystopian future represents. For many, Kowloon Walled City (torn down in the 90s by the colonial government) evoked many of these themes and thus, it has inspired many artists. Below are a few highlights.

Click for a detailed visual history of the Walled City and for a glimpse of the City from within.

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By Jeremy Thompson

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By Stefan Herda


BLOG – Kowloon Walled City Recreated in Japan: Pictures 5

Home to 33,000 people, the notorious Kowloon Walled City was torn down by the colonial government in the 1990s. There are few photos or videos of what life was like within its infamous walls, but you can view a brief history here and see some shots of the sprawling community before it was demolished.

Though only a park remains on the site today, a new games arcade has recreated the Walled City in Kawasaki City, Japan. ‘Digital Kowloon City‘ has an appropriately grimy and industrial atmosphere and includes a mock restaurant, a mock cinema and even a (very out of place looking) escalator…

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Via another-tokyo.com

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Courtesy: David at Randomwire.com


HISTORY – A Brief Visual History of Kowloon Walled City 40

Last week, the Wall Street Journal released a new 15-minute documentary about the notorious Kowloon Walled City, which was torn down by the colonial government in the 1990s. The collection below focuses more on the exterior with some early photographs and a few rare aerial shots…

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During the Sung Dynasty, between 960 and 1279, East Kowloon’s coastline was a series of salt pans. The Walled City was originally an outpost set up to manage the trade, though little else took place in the area until 1668 when 30 guards were stationed there. The intention was to defend Lei Yue Mun, Kowloon Bay, Hung Hom and Tsim Sha Tsui against foreign invaders and pirates.

It was developed into a small coastal fort in 1810 and was improved in 1847 following the arrival of the British. The Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory of 1898 handed the New Territories over to Britain for 99 years, but excluded the Walled City which, by then, had a population of around 700…

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1898 – the year Britain took control of the New Territories

China was allowed to keep officials there as long as they did not interfere with the defence of British Hong Kong. The enclosed area measured 6.5 acres and included six watchtowers, four gates, several military offices, gunpowder stores, weapons stores and soldier’s quarters – all surrounded by canons.


PHOTOGRAPHY – Rare Shots from Inside the Old Kowloon Walled City 15

Below are shots fromCity of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City‘ – a photobook by Greg Girard and Ian Lambot. The Canadian photographers spent 5 years shooting in the Kowloon Walled City before it was demolished in the early nineties…

“33,000 people living in over 300 interconnected high-rise buildings, built without the contributions of a single architect, ungoverned by Hong Kong’s safety and health regulations, covering one square city block in a densely populated neighborhood near the end of the runway at Kai Tak airport. In collaboration with Ian Lambot, I spent five years photographing and becoming familiar with the Walled City, its residents, and how it was organized. So seemingly compromised and anarchic on its surface, it actually worked -and to a large extent, worked well. The Walled City was torn down in 1992 but the photographs, oral histories, maps and essays in our book provide the most thorough record of daily life in a place that was a true Hong Kong original.”

Click for more Architecture & Infrastructure posts or history posts.

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