Detailed Cross-section of the Kowloon Walled City by Japanese researchers led by anthropologist Kani Hioraki

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Kowloon Walled City was a largely ungoverned, densely populated settlement in Kowloon City in Hong Kong. Originally a Chinese military fort, the Walled City became an enclave after the New Territories were leased to Britain by China in 1898. Its population increased dramatically following the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War II. By 1990, the Walled City contained 50,000 residents[1][2] within its 2.6-hectare (6.4-acre) borders. From the 1950s to the 1970s, it was controlled by local triads and had high rates of prostitution, gambling and drug abuse.”

detailed view of the cross-section illustrates a mahjong parlor, a strip club and a plastics factory
detailed view of the cross-section illustrates a mahjong parlor, a strip club and a plastics factory

The Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong was once the most densely populated place on earth. And without a single architect or any oversight whatsoever, the ungoverned hive of interlinking buildings became a haven for drugs, crime and prostitution. This is perhaps why the surreal, M.C. Escher-like structure, where one couldn’t even begin to imagine what life was like, captured the interest of the Japanese.”

detailed view of the cross-section illustrates a cafeteria and a tunneled passageway that’s always leaking rain water
detailed view of the cross-section illustrates a cafeteria and a tunneled passageway that’s always leaking rain water

(link fixed 2014)

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