"The Strange Saga of Kowloon Walled City" Discussion Thread

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Nice article . . . I walked (hurriedly, and with some anxiety) through the Walled City in 1985, emerging with some relief on the far side. I wonder if there are any other lawless enclaves (especially urban ones) remaining in the world?


I quite like how probably the most comprehensive visual memory of the Walled City in Western media comes from… “Bloodsport”.


Great Article. Having actually been there I can safely say you forgot one thing: you forgot to mention the stench. It was rancid.

Glad you all found the article interesting! It’s an adaptation from the book by James Crawford entitled, Fallen Glory: The Lives and Deaths of History’s Greatest Buildings. Check it out if you want to learn more!

It reminds how the South American slums are actually developing since the 80’s.

Thank you. I have often wanted to see this city I have read about. Thanks for this glimpse. I will look for the book

Thanks for a better-than-average article on a very interesting subject!
The “organic megastructure,” mentioned here as imagined by a number of architects and futurists, was also an idea of Paolo Soleri in Arcosanti, about an hour north of Phoenix. Originally planned in the 1970’s to house 5,000 residents, the building was only slowly funded and the project seems to be on hold after Soleri’s death a few years ago. They have a website, arcosanti.org and there are Wikipedia articles on Soleri and Arcosanti. The AtlasObscura take is here: atlasobscura.com/places/arcosanti. It is a remote desert city, an idealistic dream, futuristic architecture and a factory for pretty cool bells. If any of that interests you and you’re in the central Arizona area check it out! You’ll find that it is worth a visit.

Canyon of cement is reminiscent of Cairo, in Cairo | Vinzent | Flickr and then there is Gordon Mathews’ book about Chungking Mansions in Kowloon, too, “Ghetto at the Center of the World,” https://www.amazon.com/Ghetto-Center-World-Chungking-Mansions/dp/0226510204

This is a good book that takes place in a fictionalized version of Kowloon. https://smile.amazon.com/Walled-City-Ryan-Graudin-ebook/dp/B00IRIRC08

Thanks for the article James - some info’s and def photos i had not seen previously.
We traveled to TWCOKowloon by 1987 after receiving the
book about it - Kau Lung Shing Chai by Ryuji Miyamoto -
from director Sogo Ishii ( Japan ).
We turned William Gibson onto it Sogo was wanting to use it as a film location !

William Gibson is Canadian, not American.

Lovely post and I’m sure the author did his research, though slightly confusing that the Kowloon Walled City is constantly shortened to and simply called Kowloon in the article. Kowloon is a massive area covering over half of Hong Kong.
(It would be the same as writing an article about Brooklyn Museum but then for the rest of the article only address it as Brooklyn.)