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Old January 24th, 2006, 11:20 AM   #1
Manila-X
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Kowloon Walled City

I hope this is the right place to discuss this since this section is skyscrapers, structures and architecture.

But I've been fascinated with this mysterious structures even if they are demolished.

Anyway, for those who don't know, this is the Kowloon Walled City which was one of the most depressed areas in HK at that time. The place was originally a fort and became of the largest slums in the city. Most lower income immigrants from the mainland settled in The Walled City where conditions are some of the world in the city. It also became a haven for crooks, triads, drug addicts and illegal dentists. Even if it's gone, the city itself is a taboo, an example of urban decay and architectural craziness

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Old January 24th, 2006, 02:34 PM   #2
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A piece of urban lost in vaults of history.

High-rises slums, like in those cyberpunk sci-fies.

Like metropolis' zone 6, like Coruscant deepest level.

I love it!
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Old January 24th, 2006, 02:42 PM   #3
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fantastic! are there any apartments for rent still?
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Old January 24th, 2006, 02:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyMass
fantastic! are there any apartments for rent still?
Do you really want one? The rent was cheap. Only thing it doesn't exist anymore.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 02:54 PM   #5
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How many people lived there?
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Old January 24th, 2006, 03:04 PM   #6
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How can such a large illegal structure exist?
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Old January 24th, 2006, 03:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuval
How many people lived there?
i think there was 50-60,000 at its max.

redstone, from what i've read, it was in sort of a "no man's land" where there was a lack of police power; it was outside British control, outside of mainland China's control, and the local police turned their back on it.

i'm also interested in this oddity.

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Old January 24th, 2006, 03:21 PM   #8
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It was a small patch of land in HK that was still under control of the Chinese, therefore the British controlled HK police had no juristiction over it. As far as I know the Chinese were happy just to leave it alone. Therefore it was basically ruled by the triads. Absolutely fascinating place, I wish I was old enough to have been able to go and see it before they knocked it down. 15 stories of completely unplanned shanty town, I can't even imagine how it even supported it's own weight let alone the people living there!!
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Old January 24th, 2006, 03:23 PM   #9
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Uncoordinated, ad-hoc construction?
New units gradually added on top of older ones?

How did it even stand on it's on?

It's like a miracle of sorts....
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Old January 24th, 2006, 03:25 PM   #10
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Exactly!! Amazing!
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Old January 24th, 2006, 03:34 PM   #11
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Looks fantastic. Hong Kong still does have a lot of charming slum areas. Also, Chungking Mansions is supposed to be quite unique.

Peter K
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Old January 24th, 2006, 04:12 PM   #12
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Has someboday any pics of the inside?
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Old January 24th, 2006, 04:26 PM   #13
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Please have a look of the whole story of this interesting Kowloon Walled City in this link:
http://www.twenty4.co.uk/on-line/iss.../KWC/Main.html

As I have said in another thread. I still remember there was a documentary made by the governement channel in the late 80's teling the lives of the people there. A housewife said she sometimes just borrowed sauce from her neighbours of another building "THROUGH THE WINDOWS' when she was running out of sauce for cooking! And there were shots children playing, jumping from one building to another.

Pity that I was too young (though mid-30's now) to understand the wonder of this structure and have never pay a real visit or "expedition" to it. I just passed by several times in bus in the early 90's.
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Last edited by Marathoner; January 24th, 2006 at 04:37 PM.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 06:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marathoner
Please have a look of the whole story of this interesting Kowloon Walled City in this link:
http://www.twenty4.co.uk/on-line/iss.../KWC/Main.html
Very interesting site!
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Old January 24th, 2006, 06:30 PM   #15
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Search by Yahoo and you will find some more websites about the Kowloon Walled City.

A team of Japanese architect students came to the Walled City in 1991, using one week to record the final portrait of it.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 06:31 PM   #16
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Search by Yahoo and you will find some more websites about the Kowloon Walled City.

A team of Japanese architect students came to the Walled City in 1991, using one week to record the final portrait of it.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 10:03 PM   #17
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Interesting. Why did the Brits not have this part of Kowloon? And since it wasn't really controlled, was there a lot of illegal immigration from China to the UK-controlled HK? What's there now?
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Old January 25th, 2006, 06:46 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samsonyuen
Interesting. Why did the Brits not have this part of Kowloon? And since it wasn't really controlled, was there a lot of illegal immigration from China to the UK-controlled HK? What's there now?
I have no idea why British didn't claim this small land when they got Kowloon. Actually, there were always immigrants(not illegal mostly) from the mainland throughout the history of HK. The immigration peaked after communist sweeping China, from 50's to 70's. The population of HK rapidly grew from 2M in early 50's to 4M in 70's. Living in the KWC cost a lot less so many of the residents there were from the mainland working class. The KWC was turned into a park in the late 90's.
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Old January 25th, 2006, 06:57 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samsonyuen
Interesting. Why did the Brits not have this part of Kowloon? And since it wasn't really controlled, was there a lot of illegal immigration from China to the UK-controlled HK? What's there now?
The mass immigration of mainland Chinese to HK was early 1950s during the communist takeover.

Anyway, here's a history of The Kowloon Walled City

The Walled City (known as Kowloon then) was originally a single fort built in the mid-1800s on the site of an earlier 17th century watchpost on the Kowloon Peninsula of Hong Kong. After the ceding of Hong Kong Island to Britain in 1842 (Treaty of Nanjing), Qing (Chinese) authorities felt it necessary for them to establish a military-cum-administrative post to rule the area and to check further British influence in the area.

The 1898 Convention which handed additional parts of Hong Kong (the New Territories) to Britain for 99 years excluded the Walled City, with a population of roughly 700, and stated that China could continue to keep troops there, so long as they did not interfere with Britain's temporary rule. Britain quickly went back on this unofficial part of the agreement, attacking Kowloon Walled City in 1899, only to find it deserted. They did nothing with it nor to the outpost, and thus sent the question of Kowloon Walled City's ownership squarely into the air. The outpost consisted of a yamen, as well as other buildings (which eventually grew into a low-lying, densely packed neighborhood within the walls), in the era between the 1890s and the 1940s. The enclave remained part of Chinese territory despite the tubulent events of the early 20th century that saw the fall of the Qing government, establishment of a Chinese republic and later, the People's Republic of China.

The Walled City remained a curiosity - and a tourist attraction where British colonials and tourists could have a "taste of the old China" - until 1940, when during its WWII occupation of Hong Kong, Japan evicted people from the city, and then demolished much of the city - including the wall - to provide building materials for the nearby Kai Tak Aerodrome.

After Japan's surrender, squatters (whether former residents or - more likely - newcomers) began to occupy the Walled City, resisting several attempts by Britain in 1948 to drive them out. With no wall to protect it (initially), the Walled City became a haven for crooks and drug addicts, as the Hong Kong Police had no right to enter the City (and mainland China - whether warlord, Communist, or Kuomintang - refused to take care of it). The 1949 foundation of the People's Republic of China added thousands of refugees to the population, many from Guangdong, and by this time, Britain had had enough, and simply adopted a 'hands-off' policy. A murder that occurred in Kowloon Walled City in 1959 set off a small diplomatic crisis, as the two nations each tried to get the other to claim responsibility for a vast tract of land now virtually ruled by anti-Manchurian Triads (the Hong Kong organized crime syndicate).

The Triads' rule lasted up until the mid-1970s, when a 1973-1974 series of over 3,000 police raids occurred in Kowloon Walled City. With the Triads' power diminished, a strange sort of synergy blossomed, and the Walled City began to grow almost organically. Square buildings folded up into one another as thousands of modifications were made, virtually none by architects or engineers, until hundreds of square metres were simply a kind of patchwork monolith. Labyrinthine corridors ran through the monolith, some of those being former streets (at the ground level, and often clogged up with trash), and some of those running through upper floors, practically between buildings. The only rules of construction were twofold: electricity had to be provided to avoid fire, and the buildings could be no more than about fourteen storeys high (because of the nearby airport). A mere eight municipal pipes somehow 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 - with a crime rate far below the Hong Kong average, despite the notable lack of any real law enforcement. The Kowloon Walled City was also infamous for its ridiculously high number of unsanitary dentist clinics, since this was where unlicensed dentists could operate without persecution.

Over time, both the British and the Chinese governments found this massive, anarchic city to be a bit too much - despite the low crime. If the 'Black Market' ever had a physical location, this would have been it. Needless to say, the sanitary conditions were a bit wanting.

After the Joint Declaration in 1984, the PRC agreed British authorities to demolish the City and resettle its inhabitants. The mutual decision to tear down the walled city was made in 1987.

At that time, it had 50,000 inhabitants on 0.026 km, and therefore a very high population density of 1,900,000 / km. It was allegedly the most densely populated spot on Earth.
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Old January 25th, 2006, 07:02 AM   #20
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The evolution of the Kowloon Walled City


1847-The KWC as a fort


1865-Looking south


1924-The old Yamen


1973-The Walled City surrounded by slums
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