Kowloon Walled City – The Most Densely Populated City Until 1992 [17 Pics]

Kowloon Walled City Air View

Jul 7 2012

During its final years, Kowloon Walled City became the most densely populated place on earth with 50,000 people crammed into a few city blocks. Experience the city with two Canadian photographers Greg Girard and Ian Lamboth before it was demolished in 1992.

Poor construction technique of Kowloon

It was calculated that the city had 33,000 families living inside of the 300 interconnected high-rise buildings (if they can be called that since they have been constructed without any contributions of architects).

Kowloon Walled City at Night

At night the massive structure of Kowloon Walled City lights up and looks like something you would see in a different desolate world.

Rooftops of Kowloon Walled City

Many residents use the rooftops for the only sunlight in their homes. Many of these living places are in the middle of the structure with zero natural light.

Busy streets buzzing with thousands of of people

The streets inside buzz at all hours of the day with hundreds of citizens managing businesses, and living their lives with their families.

Leaky hallways of the massive Kowloon complex

The poor construction techniques and low upkeep is visible almost everywhere in this mini metropolis. Mir Lui was assigned to work inside of the city as a post man in 1976 as he is one of the few people who knew the massively complicated hallway structure inside (he wears a hat because everything is leaking).

A store inside of the City.

A convenience store that sells essentials like toilet paper, cigarettes and canned foods.

A store inside of the Kowloon City. Cats everywhere.

A grocery store owner Chan Pak (aged 60) has a passion for cats – he had seven at the time of this photo.

A living space of two elderly people in Kowloon

Law Yu Yi (aged 90) living in a tiny third-floor flat with her son's 68-year-old wife. A typical arrangement of a traditional family.

A butcher shop with no health regulations in Kowloon City

Food processors admitted that they picked to live in the city to avoid jurisdiction of the government's health and sanitation inspectors. They also benefited from the low rent fees.

Kids playing on the roof tops of Kowloon.

Kids playing outside on the rooftops where low flying jets come in to land at the Kai Tak Airport.

A food shop inside of Kowloon with no health regulations.

A noodle business is a work place during the day and in the evening when Hui Tung Choy's wife and two daughters play and do homework on the flour-encrusted work bench.

A barber shop inside of Kowloon

Despite many drug problems at the city, many managed to live normal lives.

A fish processing shop inside of the Kowloon City

Workers at the fish processing shop where little to none sanitary rules were followed.

A church that was built over with the housing. Barely any lights gets here anymore.

Tin Hau Temple that was built in 1951 was encapsulated inside of Kowloon's Massive structure. Barely any light penetrates the facades above.

Looks almost like a distant planet.

A good view to see the crooked poorly built structure of Kowloon Walled City.

When it was being shut down in 1992 some refused to leave.

In 1992 the government of China spent around 2.7 billion Hong Kong dollars in compensation to the estimated 33,000 families and businesses. Some were not satisfied and tried to stop the evacuations.

Adolfo Arranz – a sketcher/graphic artist (and a freelancer too) at South China Morning Post – summarizes Kowloon City in a beautiful infographic (that he actually got a gold medal for). Click the image for larger version (4400 × 6700, 6.6 MB). See image footer for credit info.

Kowloon city diagram

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Categories: Architecture, Society, WTF?

Tags: china, hong kong, poor


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